Based in the United States, our company partner went into the quarantine and faced some of the pandemic consequences. All the employees were working from home, all the restaurants, parks and cinemas were closed, some people have lost their jobs. The whole situation was full of fear and unsettling news. During the lockdown, our partner observed that most of the people were communicating online and making up some entertaining challenges. In fact, people had online parties, sports events and quizzes and didn’t want to miss a single update about it.
So, our partner got an idea to develop a dance competition application that allows people to participate in the competitions, win money, be part of the community and charity campaign. Along with it, customer wanted to allow people to follow each other and come together take their mind off bad news and feel secure. He had very clear and specific requirements in his mind about the app.
The application is open to residents of the thirteen (13) counties making up West Michigan. The significance of the app is the support of people who are in isolation because of the current situation in the world. This app is created to support our community’s heroes, to dance with our friends, and to make our neighbors, classmates and co-workers feel together again.
We had a limited time, because our target audience was on the self-isolation, so it took 2 days to put the team together and after 4 weeks we have represented the first life version of the app. After 2 weeks of bug fixing and adding features, we have launched the Dance Competition app officially. As a result, the time from the app idea to the launch took 6 weeks. The idea was completed during the entire development cycle, which led to the project scope growth. But despite this, we didn’t shift the release of the app.
What are the key factors of the project success? Here are the main tips from the Lead BA of the project, Polina Salimyanova:
The team of real professionals with high expertise and extensive experience in mobile application development. I will never stop putting this factor in the first place, it is the key. I can say unequivocally that with the resulting set of initial factors, such as tight project deadlines, a large amount of work and a high level of quality, only a highly organized, brave, respectful team that is ready for flexibility, can achieve a success.
You may have a brilliant idea, a lot of time, energy and money, but you cannot achieve anything without a team. Therefore, once again I want to say a huge thank you to each participant in this project, you are exactly that piece of the puzzle that allowed to put everything into a complete picture.
Clear Vision and Mission
The clarity of the project’s mission gave the team an understanding of the key project milestone and answered the main questions – where we are going and why.
Each team member knew clearly who our potential users were, what they should get from the product and their paint points. We worked in a close collaboration with the customer, who from the very beginning presented to us the concept of the product, its mission, development strategy. We knew about the product development marketing strategy, which determined the time to market for the application. This full disclosure from the customer side allowed us to avoid many questions and concentrate on the main goal.
Сonstant Interaction with the Customer
Everyday communication with the customer, his daily involvement, contributed to the fastest elimination of blockers, issues that could potentially lead to the rework of the finished or partially finished functionality. Our customers understood the importance of their involvement in all phases of the project, and we saved time on explaining the benefits and risks in the absence of communication and control of results.
Having received such a positive experience, it was decided to openly emphasize the importance of communication and customer engagement with each new customer. This even led to the creation of a new procedure and document for the initial phase of the projects.
Fast Problem Solving
Effective communication within the team wasn’t well-coordinated and clearly understood. The explanation for this is simple.
April 2020, pandemic time, start of the remote work, no one yet understands how long it will last and how to live with it. At the same time, we needed to start the new project with no experience of working in remote format, and there was no time to study the best practices, collect the team’s opinion and build a communication plan. Therefore, we did everything on the spot. And of course, we didn’t avoid the collisions, misunderstandings, distortions of information, which we corrected during the process. What is more important is how we solve the difficulties within the team. When a team is not afraid to talk about shortcomings, problems, it always reduces the risks of not achieving the result.
The Pursuit of Quality
Our team has a strong commitment to improve the product and it helps us to wins the client’s trust, as well as develop user friendly product without negative reviews.
Our Business Analysts team has a principle of work: if you see that you can improve something in the project, then prepare recommendations, reasons, and show them to the customer. When a customer sees that you are not just completing the assigned tasks, but considering the tasks from the business point of view, potential users, analyzing competitors and navigating solutions, then you gain the client respect and loyalty.
It is worth coming to the customer not only with a problem, but with several ways to solve this problem. It helps to resolve the issue faster and more productive. The customer does not always see the technical features of the tasks, pitfalls, solution options and the time required for implementation. Our strategy is to make this knowledge as transparent as possible for the customer, to provide complete information for making a decision, but at the same time to show the importance of the customer, since the final decision is up to him.
Requirements Management Strategy
Willingness to change is important but change needs to be managed and done correctly, openly, and understandable for the customer. Requirements management strategy is a process of planning work with changes, identifying changes, assessing risks, assessing the impact of changes on the main factors of the project, responding, monitoring, and control.
In our project we had weekly reporting for the customer, which recorded changes of the project and their reflection on the budget, plus we had daily communication and discussion of changes and their impact. As a result, it allowed the client to clearly understand the current state, project overview, and the changes weren’t that frightening.
In the project we haven’t got a time for deep planning, elaboration of internal processes in the team, and even less risk assessment and scheduling. We started the project at a short notice and achieved the first results very quickly, too.
The lack of well-defined processes affected the team. By the end of the project, the team was literally squeezed out, some of the team mates immediately took the holidays, we all needed some rest. But the appearance of the first results, project presentations on American TV, satisfied users, gave us strength and confidence that everything was not for nothing. I still remember this challenging project and love to discuss it with the team.