SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

Learn how to Slide through to Success!

One of the most use­ful tools WorkingMouse uses dur­ing the de­vel­op­ment process is a Success Slider. First coined in Rob Thomsett’s bril­liant book Radical Project Management”, the con­cept refers to a tool used to help all pro­ject stake­hold­ers agree on the suc­cess cri­te­ria and pri­or­i­ties of a task. At WorkingMouse we use Success Sliders as a way to ed­u­cate our Partners and en­able them to col­lab­o­rate with their as­signed pro­ject teams in or­der to come to a shared un­der­stand­ing about how the pro­ject will be mea­sured as suc­cess­ful on com­ple­tion. The gen­eral rule that ap­plies to all Success Sliders (not just the WorkingMouse vari­a­tion) is that they can­not all be fixed”. If this was to be al­lowed it would be an im­me­di­ate in­di­ca­tor that the pro­ject will fail to meet ex­pec­ta­tions for both the de­vel­oper and part­ner.

So how does a WorkingMouse Success Slider work? We ask our Partners to con­sider the value they place on four cri­te­ria: scope, cost, time and qual­ity. Participating in this dis­cus­sion al­lows our Partners to de­ter­mine what their pri­or­i­ties are for the pro­ject de­vel­op­ment. We then ask our Partners to shade one box per row and per col­umn of the Success Slider table, based on how fixed or flex­i­ble their ex­pec­ta­tions are for each cri­te­ria. Below is an ex­am­ple of what we con­sider to be the op­ti­mal choice for suc­cess­ful soft­ware de­vel­op­ment, how­ever ul­ti­mately the Partner can de­cide their own pri­or­i­ties.

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The rea­son only one box can be shaded in each col­umn and row is Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every ac­tion, there is an equal and op­po­site re­ac­tion. If the cost of the build is fixed for ex­am­ple, the qual­ity is not nec­es­sar­ily re­duced but the re­quire­ment for flex­i­bil­ity on qual­ity in­creases. Another ex­am­ple is if the Scope of the pro­ject was fixed then by de­fault one of the other three op­tions (Cost, Time or Quality) will need to be more flex­i­ble.

There is a gen­eral ten­dency with prod­uct own­ers (specifically for soft­ware), to re­gard all four cat­e­gories as most im­por­tant. However, util­is­ing this tool pro­vides WorkingMouse with a way to en­sure key pro­ject stake­hold­ers or prod­uct own­ers con­vey their ex­pec­ta­tions to the pro­jec­t’s de­vel­op­ment team early on in the de­vel­op­ment process. This helps WorkingMouse make de­ci­sions in the event of a prob­lem or con­flict. It also en­sures Partners un­der­stand the na­ture of trade offs and pri­ori­ti­sa­tion.

If you would like to learn more about how WorkingMouse de­vel­ops awe­some soft­ware for our Partners check out our Way of Working. If you are in­ter­ested in de­vel­op­ing, con­tact us here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Francis

Brewer of beers, smoker of meats

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