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Development Methodologies

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Please describe your experience with project management.

Ropardo Project Management practices adhere to industry standard and domain specific knowledge, skills, tools&techniques. The composition of our PM team ensures appropriate seniority levels as well as certified PM professionals (PMP®). We usually adapt tools and techniques to the engagement type (Waterfall / Hybrid / Agile). The success driver is that, primarily, quality is built in rather than inspected in.

Years of applying SCRUM have led to the conclusion that it is a proven solution to:

  • gain fine control on particular activities such as business modeling, design, and architecture
  • release some benefits earlier as the product is still being developed
  • enjoy speed-to-market
  • integrate testing throughout the lifecycle, enabling regular inspection and adjustments
  • involve the user in the development process which provides excellent visibility for key stakeholders
  • manage risks, making it easy to respond to change
  • control costs
  • create much better business engagement and customer satisfaction
  • allow agile development requirements to emerge and evolve

How do you ordinarily scope, estimate, assign resources and measure progress, in order to plan and ensure quality?

Requirements management. RM typically consists of outlining Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), of which granularity is tailored to engagement type. Collecting requirements is facilitated by the Business Analyst and includes the acceptance statement for each requirement as well as general acceptance criteria. Preference for visual artifacts like wireframes or mockups. Prototyping is used as tool for gathering requirements in agile/adaptive environments.

Estimating. Estimating is typically based on an Activity list, in relation with the WBS. The estimates build up in time and cost baselines, which are set under control in early project stages. In agile/adaptive engagements the estimating and scheduling is done in short cycles allowing for rapid feedback on the approaches and sustainability of deliverables, typically with control set at WBS branch (hills/epics) level.

Resources. Internal resources with preference for dedicated and long-term assignments to accounts. Roles include at least Project Manager, Business Analyst, Developer, Quality Assurance specialist. Staffing is filled with Customer language speaking personnel whenever possible, particularly for BA/QA.

Progress. Progress reporting has the definition of done at its base: scope is verified internally then the delivered scope is validated with the Customer. Tailored to the engagement type and size, progress reporting tools include: Earned Value Management, burn-up, burn-down charts.

Risk. Risk process is tailored to size and complexity of the project. The development approach (i.e. Waterfall / Hybrid / Agile) also drives the risk plan. At a minimum, the Risk Management Plan, Risk Register and regular Risk Monitoring activities are developed and undertaken for each project.

How do you typically apply SCRUM Agile in a software outsourcing project?

Usually the project type and the development methodology “set the tone” for what items are discussed, the order in which issues are dealt with, and what communication method(s) are used. In a regular project-based endeavor, implemented with the Agile SCRUM methodology, the process most often goes down as follows:

  1. You send us the initial information about the project in the form that is most convenient to you. This can include the complete specifications of the product.
  2. After we study the information, we check with you if we interpreted it correctly. In case you cannot provide full functional and technical specifications for the project, we can offer assistance in defining them for a consultancy fee. This stage can result in either the full product backlog or only a few key features of the solution based on which the remaining elements will be built gradually. If and when necessary, we can send our key people to your site or you can come to our headquarters to ensure an efficient communication.
  3. We will consent on the type of contract to use for the project (e.g. target cost, shared gain/pain, progressive), as well as on the budget for the project, both at a sprint level and for extended periods of time (e.g. calendar year)
  4. A mixed group of project managers (yours and ours) will put together a blueprint of the project development process to establish the following:
    • duration of a SCRUM sprint
    • how, when, and by whom will the “Definition of Done” (“DoD”) be prepared
    • how, when, and by whom will the test cases and methods be prepared
    • rules on how priorities for each SCRUM iteration will be set
    • change request handling (e.g. any feature planned for a certain iteration can be replaced by other features of equal effort)
    • feedback handling, escalation procedures, etc.
    • possible limits to team size changes throughout the project

    It is preferable for all this information to be included in the Statement of Work of the project.

  5. Finally, we outset the project and allocate the programmers in such a manner as to meet established deadlines, yet complying to limits defined in paragraph 4. Whenever necessary, corrective measures will be taken throughout the project lifecycle.

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