How to give your project a kick in the mouth

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How to give your project a kick in the mouth

  1. 1. How to give yourproject a kick in the mouthCollin Schaafsma / Co-founder @
  2. 2. Set yourself up for successThree things that must be right in order for your project to even start.
  3. 3. The Right ClientIs this client and project a good fit?
  4. 4. The Right Client Is this client and project a good fit?Know your ideal client well.- Compare all potential clients to that standard.
  5. 5. The Right Client Is this client and project a good fit?Things you should ask yourself.- Is the project too big or small?- Is the work interesting?- Are their expectations crazy?- Can they afford you?- Are they in a rush?- Did they email you from a hotmail address?
  6. 6. PaymentItʼs sorta important
  7. 7. Payment Itʼs sorta importantAvoid the fixed bid!- Fixed bids go against the Agile grain.- Requires tons of change orders.- Clouds judgment.- No one wins.
  8. 8. Payment Itʼs sorta importantSome rough numbers- Use historical data, look at other projects.- Contract with them for a story carding session.- Don’t give them a line of shit. It’s OK to say “I don’t know now.”- Explain your typical MVP engagement and what a pair costs a month.
  9. 9. Team Setup
  10. 10. Team SetupMake sure the team is fully dedicated- Context switching sucks.
  11. 11. Team SetupPairing is caring- Increases productivity, focus and efficiency.- Fosters collaboration and better communication.- Forces real time code reviews.- Increases the bus count.- Ultimately results in a better product.
  12. 12. Team SetupRemove the middle man or woman- Things get lost in translation.- The developer should be in direct contact with the client.- If the client needs a lot of hand holding spread the work over the pair.
  13. 13. Let’s do this thingProject is a go1.) You have the right client and project.2.) The time and materials contract is signed.3.) Team is ready to crush it.
  14. 14. What are we building?Inception Deck- Why are we building this?- Will it make money?- What’s the desired timeline?- What are the higher risk points?- Who is the competition?- How many developers will it take?- What’s the elevator pitch?
  15. 15. Story Carding Map it out
  16. 16. Story Carding Map it outDo this with the client!
  17. 17. Story Carding Map it outGo analog at first
  18. 18. Story Carding Map it outGo analog at first- Dedicate a wall.- Use dry erase boards, cork boards, etc.- Use 3 x 5 paper notecards.- If you have wires, put them on the wall.- Tape your inception deck on the wall.- Categorize notecards with little colored stickers.- Don’t mix up the permanent marker with a dry erase one.
  19. 19. Story Carding Map it outStory Weighting- Do this with the client.- Use voting cards.- Try to have an odd number of developers voting.- Without weighted stories you can’t track how well you’re doing.
  20. 20. Story Carding Map it outDefining the MVP- Do this with the client.- The more stories that don’t make the cut, the more likely for success.- Collaborate, help your client make the hard decisions.- Avoid shooting down a feature totally, propose a simpler solution first.- Stick to your guns, they can’t have everything at once.- Keep the client focused on the core offering.- Don’t invent problems.- The Facebook + Gmail + Twitter + Something that pops is not going to fly.
  21. 21. Story Carding Map it outGather stories into a tool
  22. 22. Story Carding Map it outGather stories into a tool- Make sure you can track velocity.- Make sure it’s something you and your client understand.- Make sure the client can accept or reject stories.- Make sure it can keep track of the story life cycle.Examples- Pivotal Tracker- Trajectory- Kanbanary
  23. 23. Staying on track
  24. 24. Staying on trackCommunication- Remove tiers of communication noise.- Standup’s with the client.- Story acceptance.- Open channels with tools like Campfire.- Retrospectives throughout the project.
  25. 25. Staying on trackTransparency- Setup a daily environment, this can also be used for story acceptance.- Make sure your client can access the code. Use Github.- Give your client access to CI.- Don’t sugar coat or hand wave. Keep it real, really real.- Make sure your client is being transparent too.
  26. 26. Staying on trackWarning signs- Velocity lowers a lot.- Client involvement goes down.- Tracker is not up-to-date.- Client starts to add too many features in a sprint.- Client is changing big features in the middle of a sprint.- Dev team feels like they have to work more than a 9 - 5 day.- Lots of blockers are coming up in standup.- The client leans toward a waterfall style.- You’re not looking forward to meeting with the client.
  27. 27. When shit hits the fan
  28. 28. When shit hits the fanResetting expectations- If communication and transparency were good, you should be just fine.
  29. 29. When shit hits the fanThe “Come to Jesus” meeting- Don’t schedule the meeting in a reactive state. Sleep on it.- Work things out together, it’s a partnership.- Don’t point fingers. Take the high road.- Communicate value.- Come up with a sound strategy to get things back on track.
  30. 30. Don’t forget!- Not every project that comes through the door is right for you.- Avoid the fix bid.- Story card the analog way.- Weight your stories and track your velocity.- Use a tool that works best for you to track stories.- Pair program. Communicate the value to your client.- Communicate your face off. Developers need to be client facing.- Don’t sugar coat or hand wave!- When your project launches successfully party like a developer.
  31. 31. Thank you! @collinschaafsmacollin@quickleft.com

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