There appears to be a resurgence in the No Projects conversation, similar to the No Estimates notion that has been around for awhile.
I’m going to suggest that most of the disconnects around ideas of software development ‒ from No Estimates to No Projects to whatever ‒ starts with Developers and the assumption It’s their money. It’s not their money. If it is they can do with it as they please, no one cares.
There are standard business accounting processes in any business that creates products or services -- including Software - for money. Unless the developers are Staff Aug (just labor) to another firm, the accounting processes are defined in several places. FASB 86, FASB 10, even GAAP for capitalization and expenses of the cost of developing that product for use internally and for sale externally.
Here's a start …
- ACCOUNTING FOR CAPITALIZATION OF AGILE LABOR COSTS by Pat Reed and Walt Wyckoff ‒ https://goo.gl/XHCBE7
- FASB 86 ‒ http://goo.gl/sRMU4F
- The whole FASAB for federal government guide for 2015 ‒ http://files.fasab.gov/pdffiles/2015_fasab_handbook.pdf
The separation of Products from Projects at the software development process level is understandable. I work a Program that has both. Both for good reasons for both. A Product Line enhancement is usually on continuing system – Version 9 of a legacy system is a Product Line extension of a system that as be in place for 11 years. A “new” product” Version 1.0 in the same domain is treated as a Project. The Project is to establish Version 1.0 which will then be extended over its life.
If the No Projects approach goes that same way as the No Estimates approach, those paying for the work will be intentionally excluded from the conversation. When I asked one of the originators of the #NoEstimates conjecture to go check your idea with the CFO, I got silence.
Follow the Money is advice I received from my colleague – former NASA Cost Director
This is good advice for any anyone proposing an initiative that pretends to change the status quo, tilt at the windmill of supposed bad management, or any suggested evil as seen by those spending the money provided by someone else. Remember this when making suggestions...
It's not Your Money, act accordingly. Your opinion should be considered as appropriate, but it's not your money. Those whose money it is have a fiduciary responsibility to spend it in a manner compliant with the accounting principles of the firm, be that private or public.