We have just finished a 3 month sprint working with a customer to deliver a BI Platform from woe to go in 3 elapsed months.  This is the first time I have been involved in delivering something from scratch to production in such a short amount of time.

Yes we have done lots of small developments in that period and even done some semi-agile (id say it was iterative) developments where we went from inception to production in 3 months on a platform that was already production and stable.

But in this case we were talking about starting from nada and going live with data and some reports in 3 months.

It has been a wild ride and we have had some successes and some failures.  We sure as nuts learnt a lot for when we do it again next time (and im happy that we will).

So im am going to post a series of short blogs on what I learnt, what I would do the same next time and what I wouldn’t (as I find time and in no particular order!)

Lesson #1 – Change your business owners engagement frequency

So the first lesson for me was the needed to change the engagement timeframe with the business owners.

Typically you might have monthly steering committee meetings and weekly team meetings.  But with a 3 month window this only allows for 3 steering committee meetings and by the time you get to them its to late.

Now one of the things about steering committees is they shouldnt be a route for escalation of issues or decisions on how things are done.  They should be there solely to make sure the project is on time, on budget, delivering the scope that has been agreed and managing any risks acceptably.  It’s a health check process not a management/decision process. Of course we all know that’s not how it normally goes.

So my suggestion is drop the steering committee meetings to fortnightly.  Ideally these health checks will happen in line with the fortnightly development sprints you are doing, so they can get transparency of what is being delivered on time and what isn’t.

Interestingly I think you will see your steering committee makeup change slightly as a result of the call on key people’s time to attend fortnightly meetings.

The second suggestion is to have direct access to the key business owner on a daily basis for escalation of any issues.  We all know every project gets a myriad of roadblock’s that often escalate into “magic roundabouts”.  So you need access to the key business owner so they can ask, beg, plead, yell, demand, shout and threaten whenever you need them to remove these roadblocks.  Remember a week’s delay in a dependency will kill your project delivery timeframe.