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Posts Tagged ‘Agile project management’

A Few Words From Our Customers

With Spotlight, it’s easy to get your team communicating, see what everyone’s doing at any given time, and deliver faster with Agile.  The key to success is great communication, and Spotlight delivers with system-wide integrated communication and messaging.  By leveraging the best of social networking, you stay in touch with what everyone’s working on in real-time.

Many of our clients had experienced success with their projects using Spotlight.  Here’s what some have to say.

 

tripchi

Spotlight-TestimonialsMy startup, tripchi, has been using Spotlight for the past few months… It is a streamlined and easy-to-use agile project management sprint tool… I think it will continue to grow in user base, as it has a unique niche in a market that is typically represented by software that is either over-featured and too expensive, or so basic that you can’t easily roll up information (Excel, etc.). Keep up the good work Spotlight!

– Chandra Jacobs, Founder/CEO

 

Appointment-plus

With offshore, near-shore and home-sourced development teams, the need to quickly collaborate and insure productivity and utilization for these resources is crucial. This product is combining proven project management practices along with social media tools. The result – greater productivity.

– Stephen Booze, CIO

 

Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

I recently had the opportunity to see a demo of Spotlight and I can truly say this software just blew me away. I’m always looking for that easy to use, but very useful project management software and Spotlight is just that. As a business incubator manager, I suggest that all our clients in the program use Spotlight… Best on the market in my opinion.

– Jeff Saville, Executive Director

 

Building up Leaders

There are no easy or clean ways to manage project resources and people around the world, until now! Spotlight Software gets to the social side of resource management using a fabulous tool. I recommend this software to anyone who is managing a project resource in another country, especially when there is a time difference in play.

– Eric Walton, President

 

SkyMall, Inc.

Spotlight Software was designed by an experienced software developer and manager to answer needs not addressed by other project management offerings. As such, it has critical, helpful functionality for managing virtual teams that no other PM tool features…. That added functionality allows for stronger, more efficient management of virtual teams, with accountability of project members at its core. Regardless of what online project management tool you may presently be using, I am confident you will find Spotlight to be superior and worthy of your use.

– Alan Lobock, Founder

 

SMART Business Systems LLC

Spotlight is a straight-forward way to setup the sprint backlog, assign, track, post, and review performance criteria all through a shared online service. Managing a distributed Agile team used to be a challenge. Not any more!. SerpicoDEV provides it as a service to software development clients. They use it themselves to manage their own projects so it must be good!

– Kevin Pugh, Founder/Owner/Developer

 

SEEDSPOT.org

We love using this application at SEED SPOT and with select ventures in our program. It has helped us stay organized and plan appropriately.”

– Chris Petroff, Co-Founder

 

Diroddi

To compete, collaborate and create today you have to embrace a distributed/non-centralized “creation engine”. To harness that engine we must have the tools to properly manage and apply its power. Spotlight is one of those few tools and, with their current product roadmap, it promises to be THE tool.

– Jason Turner, Founder

 

To stay up-to-date with Spotlight Software and Spotlight, find us on FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn, or Twitter.

 


Spotlight Seminar – How to Hire, Plan and Manage a Software Development Project Using an Agile Distributed Team

The world of software development is rapidly changing. Don’t get left behind. Learn how to work with offsite employees and the ins-and-outs of agile management.

In this 4-hour, action packed hand-on seminar, you will learn how to hire, plan and execute an agile software development project using a distributed team.

You will learn:Spotlight_Seminar_12-6-13_2

  • Where to find high-talent, low-cost developers
  • How to hire the best and what to say to developers
  • Optimal planning strategies to ensure success
  •  All about agile and how to use it day-1
  • Managing an off-site team and building successful apps

Who Should Attend:   Entrepreneurs, project managers and developers.

Take-aways from Workshop

  1. Agile Development Process – What is it and how you can use it with your software, app and distributive team projects (Very popular discipline within software development)
  2. Distributed Teams – More and more PM’s are working with distributed teams
    • Hiring
    • Planning a SW development project
    • Executing a project

About The Presenter:

Vincent Serpico has been actively involved in software development for over 15+ years. He began his career as a developer where he led several teams building large-scale applications, including 2 task management systems. Mr. Serpico moved into executive management where he served as Vice President in several companies before starting SerpicoDEV, a near-shore services company. While at SerpicoDEV, Mr. Serpico employed a team of over 20 developers distributed across Mexico and the United States. He learned how to manage distributed teams to effectively delivery quality software at a fraction of the cost. Honing his skills, Mr. Serpico created a software platform called Spotlight to help project manager’s better manage distributed teams. Spotlight helps project managers around the world more effectively work with distributed workforces. Today, Mr. Serpico shares his vast knowledge of managing distributed teams through seminars, workshops and private consulting.

When:Spotlight_Seminar_12-6-13

December 6th, 2013

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

 

Where:

Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

275 N. Gateway Dr,

Phoenix, AZ 85034

 

Cost: $79

Register Today: http://Seminar.spotlightppm.com


10 Resources for Software Project Planning Tips

Posted by: Seth Weedin

Have you ever been a part of a software project that had little to no planning up front? How did it go for you? Sure, the agile approach is all about that iterative approach that allows for quick pivots without a lot of required planning. But of all the software development projects we’ve seen, the most successful ones use a smart approach to software project planning.

Next week we are holding the second part of our webinar series on successfully delivering a web or mobile app project and discussing software project planning. This process starts with developing a clear set of requirements that will guide your software team through a successful delivery. These requirements include wire frames and use cases for visual representation of how the project will proceed.

In sticking with the theme of planning, this week’s Friday Findings offers you 10 resources for software project planning tips to give your team direction and focus on the goals at hand.

The Findings

  • Software project planning needs to address all parties involved in the project, not just the development team. Follow these steps to create a communication plan that keeps all project stakeholders in the loop as well.
  • Doug Brophy discusses agile release planning before implementation begins. This allows teams to get started doing agile quickly with a roadmap laid out.
  • Here are six ways to improve your Scrum planning meetings from Derek Neighbors. Great line in the last paragraph, “Many people feel planning is a waste. This may be true if there is no desire to understand the outcome or path to get there.”
  • There are various levels of planning that can be done in agile projects to help form the path towards delivery. At the beginning, it can be called “Product Visioning”.
  • Another article on the levels of software project planning with vision (overarching goal), product strategy (path to goal), and tactics (specific tasks). Requirements analysis can be done in the product strategy phase.
  • This article discusses how to apply agile principles to requirement analysis planning that will produce better specifications and ultimately greater quality products.
  • Agile project plans are based on features that need to be delivered rather than a series of tasks laid out for the entire project. Here’s what a typical agile project plan looks like.
  • Preparing for complex projects using agile takes a little different approach in planning. This article from IBM discusses how to plan for complex projects in agile development.
  • After developing a set of agile project requirements, a team often must prioritize the requirements list. There are several methods including the MoSCoW approach to help with this.

There are several ways to approach software project planning and one size does not fit all. At Spotlight, we go through a process of developing requirements with wire frames and use cases right through project scoping. It keeps our team on the same page and all marching in the direction of the project goals. We will go into much more detail in our webinar next Wednesday titled Planning Your Software Project for Successful Delivery. Sign up and stop by to see how your business can successfully implement a requirements analysis process to help guide your team through delivery.

Are there other effective methods of planning out a software project we missed? Enlighten us with your wisdom and leave a comment!

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Using Agile to Reduce Software Project Risks

Risky BehaviorDevelopment projects are unique. They are hard to predict, change rapidly, and introduce a number of software project risks. These risks can often be mitigated through Agile project management and practices, helping to deliver the project faster and cheaper. Here we list five software project risks and how Agile techniques can reduce that risk.

Timeline Estimation

The software development lifecycle can be very difficult to predict. One bug here or there or a poorly laid out requirement can delay a project by hours, days, or weeks. With the intangible nature of software, it’s very hard to look ahead and accurately estimate a timeline of milestones.

Agile can mitigate this software project risk by directly involving the development team in planning and estimating. Years of experience give developers a great sense of estimating their work, especially if the requirements analysis is thorough. Using sprints, or short increments of planning and execution, the speed at which the team will move through the project can be quickly identified. Now project stakeholders will have an accurate idea of how the project will proceed at the beginning so they can make appropriate decisions throughout.

Inaccurate Requirements Analysis

A requirements analysis is of the utmost importance before a project even begins. Project Managers and Business Analysts will play a key role in this by having conversations with the customer on what goals they want their software to achieve. Even with a thoroughly thought out requirements analysis, there is always the risk of “feature creep”. As the project progresses, more and more features are added, threatening the estimates and timeline of the project.

Agile reduces this software project risk by building in time for discussions about features and changes during every sprint. Changes in the requirements and new features are expected through the project with Agile, thus teams are prepared for it. Instead of trying to include all these features for the next release, Agile teams prioritize changes based on importance. This means they will push less time-sensitive features to the bottom of the product backlog, allowing teams to anticipate what’s coming and be prepared.

Requirement Specification Errors

After the requirements analysis is complete, a project is broken down into specifications that are more detailed. When the initial development phase begins, it becomes obvious if the specifications are incomplete, have conflicting requirements, or too many tasks for the timeline. This can lead to major project delays as a result of having to circle back around to the beginning and rewrite the specifications.

This software project risk is mitigated by the Agile methodology through the role of product manager to readily make decisions on the project. When there is specification breakdown, a product manager has full project visibility to make key decisions on how to proceed. Oftentimes, traditional projects may lack this role causing delayed decisions, which can derail a project.

Project Team Productivity

Software projects can often be long and drawn out, resulting in motivation and urgency loss among team members as time goes on. Unmotivated teams will result in timeline delays and overall wasted time just trying to get them back on track and engaged in the project again.

Agile practices reduce this software project risk by using short iterations with frequent deadlines. This creates a constant sense of urgency that keeps teams motivated and working together towards the end goal. Agile also encourages frequent project team communication and team member accountability through daily stand-up meetings and progress reports. This creates a very productive working environment that can decrease the time to delivery for projects.

Project Team Turnover

Things outside of a manager’s control will cause teams to have turnover during a software project. Key personnel leaving the project take their knowledge and information with them, often resulting in significant delays or project failure. The number of great software developers available for hire is unlimited, but it always takes time to bring them up to speed on a project.

Agile project teams practice lots of information sharing techniques such as paired programming and daily reporting in stand-up meetings. When all team members share key information every day, this software project risk of critical knowledge leaving with the employee is small. Agile also reduces the bigger problem of key team members leaving by offering a highly collaborative environment that developers thrive in.

Conclusion

Agile techniques offer a number of advantages for software development projects. It will not eliminate all risks with the rapidly changing nature of software development, but you can implement many of the practices to decrease the chance of an unforeseen road bump. Are there other software project risks that Agile practices can mitigate? Leave us a comment with your suggestions!

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Author Profile
Seth Weedin (seth.weedin@spotlightppm.com) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.