The tree swing analogy first came in the 1970s and many variants came later on different subjects, such as software and management. It depicts the difference of how each department interprets and implement a requirement in the development of a tree swing. The variation of the cartoon on perception gaps in software development projects first came out in 2003. Then it became popular among the management to address issues when projects did not go the right way. Someone blames the pitfalls in communication, such as not listening to the client, but it also reveals the problems in product development and reminds anyone involved what to do and what not to do.
Look at this cartoon.
- When a customer describes what s/he wants, it tends to be true that s/he always overstates it.
- The product owner gathers the customer's requirement and summaries it.
- Engineers follow PO's summary and make it work. Well, to some extent...
- Then programmers will write it. However, when you test it, it is not workable.
- Finally we have a product, so the sales can start their job by exaggerating its features.
- When you want to check the documents to, it is always nowhere to be found.
- What the operations build is simply a rope. Gosh, I don't know what to say.
- Customers are billed for extraordinary experiences.
- The way Helpdesk solves problems is just simple and "radical".
- Voila! It turns out what the customer truly wants is just a simple tire swing.
Communication: the big "C"
A project is about a bunch of various people working together to meet the requirements. The role of a project manager is to monitor details through strategic, efficient and meaningful conversations on a project. "About 90% of the time in a project is spent on communication by the project manager". As it is known, communication is a very important element of any well-organized project. Therefore, project management is not just tools and processes.
The right tool
However, don't get it wrong. Choosing the right project management tool is what successful project teams must do. Through collaborating and using tools to keep each other on the same page, the gap caused by different interpretations among departments can be minimized. Our open source project management software, ZenTao, can help you with:
Product management: story management, plan management, release management, product roadmap.
Project management: team and effort management, task management, Kanban, tree, list, group views, burndown chart.
Testing management: test case, test case library, test suit, test plan, test result, bug management.
Dashboard: todo, calendar, tasks assigned to me.
The main difference between ZenTao and other systems is that ZenTao divides the complex project management process into four major items: story, task, bug, and case, through which ZenTao supports the whole flow management. ZenTao Cloud is also available now.