This classic scenario rings a bell?

A team of five including the team lead, Wong are working on a software project. That project was given nine months time frame. The project went well and ‘on track’ for the first six month until one senior software engineer, Mutu tendered his resignation letter with one month notice. Upon receiving the ‘bad news’, Wong immediately notified the HR manager, Nurul. Few days later, she informed her staff to process for the new hiring. A week later, the advertisement was out in Jobstreet.

For the past six months, Wong and his team members including Mutu had been busy focusing in software development. Some documents were created along the way but there are ‘everywhere’. Some in his own laptop while some were in his team member’s laptop. That included the software modules in charged by Mutu. But these documents available are mainly high-level documents like use cases and initial functional specification.

Bear in mind, that Mutu is a quick-pace and strong-domain knowledge software engineer. Otherwise, he won’t sustain the in the company for four years. But, just like most software engineers, he hardly creates any own lower-level software document like flow-chat diagram, sequence diagram, test plan and release notes. Why? God knows. Maybe this is common among most software engineers; so that the company will always need and rely on them. But with software documents in place to understand the design of the system faster, they afraid that any new staff can replace them. Moreover, Wong also didn’t request for all the low-level of software document what. Maybe. Just my guessing.

At this point of time, the project time line is not longer ‘on track’ due to the extra time Mutu spend to prepare hand-over and for Wong’s time for Mutu’s hand-over sessions. All these hiccups were not factored in during project planning in the beginning. A week before left the company, he could only hand-over a couple of documents and all the source code to Wong. But due to heavy work load as a team leader, Wong has only limited time to attend and learn from Mutu’s hand-over sessions. Imagine how much stuff left over by someone who worked for four years. Hence, Wong just copied all those little software documents and all the source code in his external hard drive.

All in all, the hiring process took about two months. By the time, the new software engineer, Sally came in, Mutu had already left the company for a month. Wong met up with Sally and ask her to copy all the resources and Mutu’s source code from his external hard drive to her laptop and explain to her briefly the project they are working right now and ask to her those documents created by Mutu last time. As Sally went through those document, she realized that those software document are not in sync with the source code. Hence, she took quick a long time to really understand the modules developed by Mutu last time. And this cause more project delay and we all know time is money. The domino effects continue from one generation to another.


Two possible twist in the plot: Can the above scenario became worse? Can the project ‘survives’ and meet the project deadline? What if

  • Wong also resigned one week after Mutu tender his resignation letter.
  • No one resign but the whole office caught fire and all the laptops are destroyed completely.

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