Do not even think of beginning development until your project plan is complete. Here is a checklist for rounding out your project plan:

1. Employ the best people you can.

2. Pick people who know the end-user industry.

3. Find managers who have done it before.

4. Don't proceed until you have the right people.

5. Keep team sizes small.

6. Break the task down into easy pieces.

7. Make sure each person knows what he or she has to do.

8. Keep team members informed and enthusiastic.

9. Take the team into your confidence.

10. Protect developers from interruptions.

11. Veto inessential change.

12. Be available for staff.

13. Pace programmers every day.

14. Watch the clock.

15. Encourage programmers to help each other.

16. Set a good example.

17. Fire bad apples fast.

18. Carry potential customers with you stage by stage.

19. Test the software regularly.

20. Maintain a safety copy of your code.

Note A cautionary word about over-succeeding: Joe Tucci, who ran Wang for 6 years and brought it successfully out of Chapter 11, always used to tell his programming team each time we met that it takes at least three attempts to get software right. So don't be afraid of releasing a less than ideal product. The first version just has to have enough functionality to satisfy users, and with success and revenue you'll turn it into what you've always wanted it to be (which will probably be around the third release).

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