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Dynamics of Software Development, Second Edition by Michele McCarthy, Jim McCarthy

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Ship Mode: Onset

The onset of ship mode is gradual, like the onset of labor in childbirth. The team enters a preliminary kind of ship mode, a practice ship mode, toward the end of every milestone. If we were to extend the childbirth metaphor, we’d say that these early ship mode “contractions” are like Braxton-Hicks contractions. The organism is preparing for rather than entering into labor. And yes, it’s fitting to refer to ship mode contractions. Completing the product calls for a contraction of focus and effort, a series of concentrated bursts of (usually) painful energy.

Let’s assume we’re talking about a four- or five-milestone project. Early milestones—M1, M2, and especially M3—will have at their ends certain ship mode characteristics. ...

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