Tagged 'agile development'

Beware of the surprise stakeholder

Posted by Michael Vitale on June 13th, 2013 at 12:00 am

They're out there - and they want to derail your next project. I hear the Jaws theme music when I think about them. Who is this project management scourge? Read on.
While working on a recent project for a very large client of mine, I was reminded of a valuable, but often overlooked,  lesson in project management. The danger of the surprise stakeholder (cue dramatic theme music)!
To protect the innocent, we'll call my client Mega Corp. Earlier this year, I agreed to take on a custom software development project for Mega Corp. We agreed on the scope, statement of work to be completed and the overall timeline. The project team on our client's side was very well-organized and detail-oriented. Life was good!  As we approached the end of the project and were about to start a final round of user acceptance testing, I received an email informing me that the project was being scrapped in favor of a watered down version of our expected final product. -How could this have happened?
First, let's take a step back and talk about stakeholder analysis. This process is a crucial step in the success of any project. In plain English, it's a guide for project managers to... Read more

Why you should use Agile for project management

Posted by Michael Vitale on February 1st, 2013 at 7:00 am

Back in 2000, I was a young project manager for a webcasting company. The industry was brand new with little to no process. Project timelines and costs were extremely difficult to control and it caused lots of frustration. My management team decided the best solution was a brand new customer relationship management portal or "CRM."   This software was going to fix everything.  All the steps in our difficult to define process would be detailed from start to finish. A software company was contracted to build the CRM with a delivery date of four months. The final price tag had lots of zeroes behind it.
Several unexplained delays and nine months later, our entire department was called into a conference room where the software vendor's product manager was unveiling the new CRM. I ran down the hall, propped my feet up on the conference room table and popped open a free soda with a feeling of great anticipation.  I was handed a  nice, neat three-ring binder with dozens of detailed color print outs explaining the software. Our frustration looked to be over!  Our prayers were about to be answered!
The next 60 minutes were overwhelmingly cringe worthy.  Not only did the product manager repeatedly... Read more

Agile Design

Posted by Adam Kleinberg on June 27th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I was first introduced to the concept of Agile Development when Paul Giese, Traction's Director of Technology, had me read an eBook that was put out by 37 Signals.

The basic premise of the book is that there's a smarter way to develop applications. By taking a rapid, iterative approach where a team updates features early and often you wind up with simpler, better applications — in less time. Simpler is key. The argument made by 37 Signals is that most applications (think Microsoft Word or Excel) are bloated with thousands of features that 99% of us never use. Why would a company create a ton of features you wouldn't use? To justify the cost of selling you an upgrade every year.