By Sarah Khogyani
As the sagely advice goes, there is no better way to set yourself up for failure than by having grandiose expectations. The U.S. military took expectations for the perfect software-defined radio technology to a $6 billion level, only to have failed monumentally. We should not catalog this as a mistake to be forgotten, but rather, as a blueprint on how to avoid such time-consuming and finance-depleting blunders.
The Joint-Tactical-Radio-System (JTRS) Ground-Mobile-Radio (GMR) agenda launched in 1997 with goals of delivering 32 different waveforms all at once, or as Bauman describes, “a recipe for disaster.” The problem with this en masse approach was that hardware designs were changing incrementally.
As a result, the JTRS program consistently delayed product execution. More money was spent to make the device better, but it also became bigger—so big that it weighed 207 pounds. The acquisitions officer, Ward, specifies that the “engineers continuously added features and functions and capabilities on paper, all of which made the design worse and made the users wait.”
So, what’s the moral of this multi-billion-dollar story?
With basis in Sean Gallagher’s evaluation of the program, lean startup methodology, and agile software development, I have broken it down into a few simple tips:
The agile manifesto suggests having:
Having this continuous innovation ultimately saves time and extensive labor. It’s the difference between cleaning your room a little bit everyday, or letting the mess pile up until the end of the month. You’ll probably have to spend an entire day cleaning, or hire help. Time and money.
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