Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gold Plating.. Dos or Don'ts


I can remember in some of the articles I have read said that Gold plating is something which you should avoid in projects. (This is one of the PMP Exam question too I suppose). .. Whats gold plating ??? No its not painting your accessories in gold color… Its about adding something to the deliveries which is out of the agreed project scope. May be some nice to have or fancy feature you are excited about. .. ..

Why is it so bad?? Coz that addition can create so much of burden and it creates most the project problems at the time of project acceptance.. Believe me I have experienced that. Once when we got to develop a developer guideline., we thought… ah ..Adding a starter kit is really fine to this Then the developers (The customer in this project ) can start the project much more easily..(We PMs love to impress customers : ). Though I knew its called gold plating.. I agreed to have that feature as a value addition.. as it didn’t show much impact to my timelines and budgets. (Smart Idea by my techlead J )..

But proving the theory at last, delivering that addition added more burden to us as it kept on giving some problems with the development environment. But the customer didn’t want to loose it either after seen the thing and highly taken up with the thing..So we had to put some more effort to solve the issues and provide a working starter kit with project deliveries.

But I noticed the following article at http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/148954-2/14_common_project_management_mistakes.html

“Fumi Kondo, managing director of NYC-based consultancy Intellilink Solutions, once observed an exchange between a software developer and a project manager where the developer told the project manager that he could add extra features to an application with no additional effort. The project manager told the developer not to add the extra features because users hadn't asked for them. "My response would have been,'Go to the users and see if those features are useful,'" says Kondo. "I see nothing wrong with over-delivering if it doesn't impact the budget or the schedule."

Don’t you think PM is right in this case.. He or she must have seen some risk of adding this additional work out of the scope.. One of my other PM friend explained an incident how a simple “Export to Excel” feature added to his reporting module ( which customer has not asked in the scope ., but they have given the feature as they thought its useful) made so much of trouble to him at the time of project acceptance..

In general Customers are pleased when you do your delivery right.. Adding those extra thingies here and there can really kill the success of your project records.. but you may never know those will have a long time pay back.. However I see the truth of avoiding such gold plating…

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