Greg Nyberg is currently an independent J2EE computer consultant with 18 years' experience designing, building, testing, and deploying large, high-volume, transactional applications such as reservation systems, call centers, and consumer websites. He is the author of the WebLogic companion workbook for Enterprise JavaBeans, Third Edition, (O'Reilly), and the lead author of the book Mastering WebLogic Server (Wiley).
GOOD IDEAS KILL PROJECTS. Sometimes it's a quick death, but often it's a slow, lingering death caused by missed milestones and a spiraling bug count.
You know the kinds of good ideas I'm talking about: tempting, no-brainer, innocent-looking, couldn't-possibly-hurt-to-try sorts of ideas. They usually occur to someone on the team about halfway through a project when everything seems to be going fine. Stories and tasks are getting knocked off at a good pace, initial testing is going well, and the rollout date looks solid. Life is good.
Someone has a "good idea," you acquiesce, and suddenly you are refitting a new version of Hibernate into your project to take advantage of the latest features, or implementing AJAX in some of your web pages because the developer showed the user how cool it is, or even revisiting the database design to utilize XML features of the RDBMS. You tell the project manager you need a few weeks to implement this ...