Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Beginnings

In an industry where things often go wrong, it is very pleasant to see something go well. This morning I sat in an organization meeting for a new web application that the department I work for will be developing. The application fits into our area well, and we have most of the backend data that this group is wanting to access. What was different about today’s meeting is that rather than discussing ways in which we would modify the existing system with our usual group of business sponsors, we were discussing a totally new application with a different group of business sponsors. It was very interesting to watch the programming manager place the ground rules and discuss how the project should flow with the business sponsors.

At one point in the meeting the business people were trying to get the program manager to commit to a completion date of later this year. Considering the depth of the project, the timeline these people had in mind wasn’t very feasible. However, I was very impressed to see how the program manager handled the situation. It was like he was quoting from some of the books that I have been reading recently about project management and the programming process. At this point you are probably thinking that this is something that any good program manager would work on. However, where I work, seeing such formality and care to organization isn’t something that I see very often. As the program manager explained our “development” process, it was very refreshing to see how he envisioned each phase of this upcoming project. He explained the roles that different people would have throughout, and what each person needed to do in order that things happened according to the revised schedule.

This is the first time in my working life that I have been in at the ground floor of a completely new project. Yes, we will interface with some of our other products, and use many of our existing tables, but this application will be all new. It was so pleasing to see people trying to do things “right”. This isn’t to say that the other products the team I work with produces aren’t quality. It is that there usually isn’t this type of formality and commitment to the design process.

Given the commitment and excitement of this set of business sponsors, and the dedication to proper planning and design of the program manager, this will be a fun project to be involved with. It won’t hit QA for several months, but it is awesome to be involved with it in its early stages.

I’ll close with another thought from the book I am currently reading.

“You can’t keep track of everything in a design given the number of people involved. But you have to have some sort of idea of what you want to do. That might be the most important thing: to have the imagination to think of things and get people to do it.” –Burton Smith

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