The Hertz vs. Accenture Lawsuit: How to Avoid Major Problems and Delays in Software Development

As software vendors, we all have horror stories to tell, but perhaps none quite like this one…

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Once upon a time — in 2016, to be exact — US car rental giant Hertz were looking to totally overhaul their online and mobile presence. And so, based on their perceived quality and long-established positive reputation, they opted to hire management consultancy firm Accenture.

Though in the beginning, it all seemed to be going rather well (both the redesigned website and accompanying mobile applications looked set to become a hit with their respective intended audiences), as the weeks turned into months and the deadlines became mere guidelines, Hertz found itself immersed in every customer’s personal hell.

You see, despite the fact that the company had already forked out more than $32 million (£25.4 million), Hertz’ handpicked team of developers were now lagging five months behind, had finished no part of the system, and epically failed to eliminate a vast number of vexing code errors.

Worse still, as the real cheek cherry on top, Accenture were now demanding an extra $10 million (£8 million) to finish the project.

That last move was simply too much for Hertz to bear. As a result, back in April, the company sued Accenture for the original amount it had spent, in addition to the expenses of sorting out the ensuing mess.

How We Avoid these Problems

Though such dread-inducing scenarios are nigh-inevitably a possibility and you don’t have to be a corporate giant to fall victim to such a trap in order to efficiently sidestep these problems, Software Planet take a number of indispensable, vital steps:

  1. Show customers the delivery plan

    By sharing the delivery plan with our customers, from the very beginning of the project, we are able to quickly establish an understanding of each other’s expectations. This avoids unrealistic assumptions and allows us to make adjustments, should any be required at any point in time.

  2. Encourage transparency

    Because we believe in unreserved transparency, when it comes to the current state of their projects, our customers possess the freedom to ask developers whatever they like. This includes posing queries regarding the risks and problems of every iteration, whether or not we are sufficiently adhering to the agreed timetable and why we’ve chosen to implement with the help of specific technologies.

  3. Demo meetings & backlog grooming sessions

    At Software Planet Group, at the end of each iteration or Sprint, our customers, product owners, developers and other stakeholders come together for a demo meeting to review what we have achieved. This makes such occasions a fantastic opportunity to gauge overall progress, usability and success.

    We also run regular backlog grooming sessions, which do away with any user stories that can no longer be considered relevant, create new ones as a response to any game-changing information and reevaluate the priority of certain stories in the present backlog.

  4. Provide a staging environment and deliver early

    And of course, because one can never be too cautious, we also make use of a critical testing stage. This staging environment, as it is known, attempts to closely mirror our customer’s own in-house settings, empowering us to weed out problems throughout the project’s development.

    Our customers, in turn, are enabled to test components as soon as they are integrated with their systems, visibly shortening the feedback loop and maintaining project momentum.

Keep it around the campfire!

While Accenture have filed counterclaims and may still have a shot at redemption, had either party recognised in time that things were starting to go awry, then the worst could have probably been avoided.

This is precisely why at SPG, we have spent nearly two decades refining our development process to ensure our customers won’t be plagued by Hertz-style real-life horrors.

 

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Bear in mind!

Though these top 10 reasons for project failure may appear to be rather straightforward, they often turn up like thieves in the night, and before you are able to catch them  the whole project is ravaged to waste!

  • Poor quality
  • Scope creep
  • Change management
  • Benefit shortfall
  • Technical issues
  • Performance issues
  • Design issues
  • Lack of skills
  • Limited budget
  • Disputes

 

David Blackwood

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