Managing your Project
Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.” – Walt Disney
There’s a good reason why the Emerging Technologies team has undertaken to render end-to-end services to our clients from under one roof.
Better for our clients is why we do it. It ensures that the overall aim prevails across those many processes and activities. It leads to superior alignment which in turn delivers better product scoping.
It helps uncover new opportunity and for lateral innovations to take place. Because the project management becomes closer knit, there is time saving which translates into quicker-to-market.
Such an arrangement helps us to carry out constant idea validation, continuous evaluation and improvement of features through quick iteration in a Lean Product Development process. Accordingly, our processes are aligned for faster delivery of agile and collaborative projects.
It has meant bringing diverse talents into our fold: business strategy, UX, designers, QA, project management, developers, and network/dev operations working coherently towards the same goals.
We practice Agile Delivery. Build and ship frequently and test and retest the UX across browsers, devices and platforms. We use Test Automation and Agile Analytics.
In our experience, being proactive about communication is a sound approach to have. This ensures the adequacy of the information being conveyed, and that it is relayed in a timely manner, and done in a way to strengthen the confidence of various stakeholders. We check now and then to evaluate if we are indeed communicating clearly. We want our clients to be able to follow us fluently through various channels – email, voice, project management tools, as well as UI tools – so that there’s a connection going with different teams and functional streams.
“Delivering a project isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is delivering a project without first taking the time to plan properly.” – James Leal
AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
The quality of project management plays a pivotal role, because keeping a complex and mutating task on track isn’t easy. All the planning at the start makes the difference to the completion we are able to reach.
This is borne out now by decades of history. As the number of software projects burgeoned, stats were gathered about their outcome. About two- thirds of the projects cost double the budgeted amount and took twice as many months than envisaged. Now these were the ones that were successful, i.e. delivered the required software.
The analysis of these ‘negative solutions’ developed a highly useful body of knowledge, that came to be known at the turn of the century as AntiPatterns, which highlights what doesn’t work and also why. Precisely to avoid such pitfalls, we are convinced about developing user stories to clearly articulate the requirements, and to develop use cases in the design planning process.
The aim of being agile is to respond to change. It is to be adaptable, which is possible only when the technology can rapidly adapt. In order to be able to carry out course changes on-the-fly in the light of new discoveries about what your target market actually wants, we need to work with robust procedures and with adaptive program architecture.
The technologies as well as our delivery practices have to continuously adapt to new insights as they come in. New features are released to production with speed, while quality assurance keeps each of these speedy releases free of error, meaning that test cases are planned before coding starts, and test cases are developed while the application is being designed and coded.
THE KICK-OFF : PLANNING FOR SUCCESS
The first couple of stages in the commencement of our engagement are predominantly analytical. Your Company needs to share its vision with us in considerable detail so that we can recognize the exact requirements from where it becomes possible to do an ROI study to identify the cost-feasibility and value of the project’s outcome to its owner.
This is the stage where you explain the business rules and processes to us and we establish what features and performance will be required in the software solution. Both sides sign up on a document on the project’s scope and the specs for the solution. We also put in place a mechanism for tracking all project activities by means of a requirement/task/defect tool and a shared file repository.
The next document is a comprehensive design document that brings developers into the loop and charts exactly how the software will execute all that it undertakes to.
CONTINUOUS DELIVERY : DOING, DOING… DONE!
Now your project is well and truly underway. How do we monitor its progress? By setting up project indicators that help us to identify or anticipate likely issues and address them quickly. These indicators will also inform us how close we are getting towards actual deployment.
When we have a release candidate, we review the UX effectiveness, and other aspects pertaining to UI quality.
The timely success of our projects comes from two strengths: a set of well-ordered project standards and our project manager’s expertise and initiative.