To start, we put our feature list into a Google spreadsheet. The list contained the following information for each feature/task/issue:
- In this column we had the following options: Do Now/Do Soon/Test/Waiting/Future/Done.
- The features were colored and sorted based upon the status.
- Which Endigit employee was assigned the feature, but also, which employee of our client was tasked with testing and reviewing the feature.
- Something short and descriptive to remind us what the task is.
- A detailed description of the feature or task or bug.
- Notes/Waiting on
- What needs to happen next
- Hourly Estimate
- While a chunk of this project was fixed bid, the majority was hourly and this column gave the client a good idea of how long a given task would take. As the client added new features or changed things around, this column gave us a location to let them know how the changes would affect the budget and schedule.
Our development often looked like this: “Hey Pete, I just uploaded another build, check it out when you’ve got a moment” and when Pete had a moment he would check out the features list to see what had changed, run the exe and respond with “Excellent! I like how that turned out and it works great!” or “Um… that is not what I had pictured, let’s grab the team and do a quick conference call to get everybody on the same page”. This method of communication worked extremely well in this situation but only because of our relationship with the client and our client’s history in working with software developers. There is certainly something to be said about only delivering code that has been highly tested and functioning perfectly. However, for this client, getting stuff working quickly was key and they had no qualms about doing some of the testing for us while we got started on the next feature.
Communication is key. It can make or break a software project. For this project, where the client was able and open to having almost daily communication, surprises were kept to a minimum and the software lives up to its truly awesome potential!