At the beginning of the project, our client said they wanted the new incident tracking application to be available on a variety of devices, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. The old system was only usable on company computers and the client assumed that everyone would want it on their other devices. When they began showing users the new application, they heard a lukewarm response to availability on mobile platforms.
To better gauge the need, we helped craft and execute a user survey that showed the lukewarm response was real. A majority of users (86% of a large, representative sample of users) said they would not make use of a new incident tracking process on their phones. Based on the response, the client decided to eliminate the mobile component from the project.
Communication and the vision for the product were both challenged as we had to change course. It was not as simple as saying we could delete the mobile stories and everything else moves up in the backlog. Front- and back-end design had to be tweaked, development changes made to already completed back-end work. And since there was newly available budget, functionality was reprioritized with new features added. Team morale also took a hit when well-liked teammates who were mobile experts had to roll off the project.
In our example with the utility company, the project manager needed to keep the team calm and focused on what was most important to meet our goals. We continued to develop, demo completed work and came together as a team for fun retros and happy hours. We took the feedback from the client and teammates to keep improving how we delivered as well as the new application.
Finish Line – Project Closure
Throughout both projects, we had ongoing conversations about what the must-haves were, and maintained estimates to get there. As each project came closer to the end, together we used our team velocity and other metrics to determine the finishing point. For the start-up, with the product owner, we presented a final roadmap of functionality to their Board and gained their buy-in on what it would take to sign-off. This occurred well in-advance of the project end and set everyone’s expectations on the final deliverables.