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Pyramid Power

When it comes to software projects and project teamwork, the traditional model is best at what can be called tactical work. In tactical projects, the territory is familiar and the parameters are known. The most important thing is to get the work out the door. I cut my programming teeth on tactical projects, producing routine business system applications, such as payroll, cost accounting, and personnel file maintenance. Once you have done a couple of payroll systems, they all begin to look alike. Even if they really aren't, seeing them that way helps you to simplify, making it easier to build and maintain standard ways of doing things. Eventually, you know all the steps and can do them in your sleep.

Clarity is the make-or-break issue for tactical teamwork—clear requirements, clear directions, clear roles. Within this world, development methods are more effective when they are well defined, with clear standards and guidelines. A detailed software development life cycle is specified within which successive phases are carried out. Work is expected to be accurate and efficient. The focus of the group in such a team is on the task at hand. Period. What team members need most is clear direction from project leaders and management. Team members are assigned specific portions of the well-understood work and do what they are supposed to do.


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