This month I had an interesting service for the IT department of a bank. I say ‘interesting‘ because they asked me to visit them, see how they were carrying out and managing their projects and tell them how I found it. Nothing about particular problems they want to resolve, objectives they are pursuing, or a method that is interesting form them. Just come – see – and give us your opinion.
I went with a good dose of curiosity and with some anxiety because I did not know what to expect.
To understand the context I asked both the software development team and the business users (the customer) to describe their workflow as well as any difficulties they had in their daily work (a problem per post-it).
A summary of the current situation can be drawn as follows:
The pains that need urgent treatment according to the prioritization of both teams are:
- Poor user requirements (defined at the level of idea)
- Insufficient business analysis
- Task estimation problems – users do not understand why developers need so much time to the work, there is pressure to reduce the estimates, and then the problems of not meeting the dates appear
- Frequent priorities changes
- High workload and inability by the development team to respond quickly to user requests.
- Lack of risk management
The analysis of the problems can be summarized like this, reading the tree bottom – up.
“Quick wins” are needed.
What vitamins should I prescribe them that will bring them
noticeable improvements in a short time?
Defining an estimation method would help, also establishing criteria and policies for managing requirement changes and risks, but all this will take time and effort. In addition, they have to be accepted well by the people, both the users and the developers.
Listening to the pains and fears of both sides the following image appeared in my mind:
What lays at the bottom of the problems is the matching between the user requirements, in the business people language, and the development team work, with all its creative and technical aspects.
Communication and shared visibility in the work are
vitamins the ICT companies.
No technology or formal method will give positive results in short time, if the communication between people fails and there is a lack of visibility in the work that is carried out.
I confirmed this idea with the team and all together we came to the following two elements of the “quick win” solution:
- Work in multidisciplinary teams
- Use a shared kanban board to visualize the work in progress and facilitate its understanding and management.
Now back to the pains that need urgent resolution. All of them will be positively affected by this simple solution, won’t they?
At least the team and I are convinced so.
What is your opinion?
If you think this experience can help a friend of yours, forward her the message. She will pay you back the favor at another important to you moment.