Building and maintaining custom software can be a pretty big investment of time and money. Custom solutions aren’t just for big, established companies. Many startup business models depend on custom software development. We’ve had lots of conversations with decision-makers in a variety of situations, and we know where you’re coming from. Making the decision to build a software solution comes with excitement and some anxiety. The fear of failure: fear of wasting your time and money on something that doesn’t make a difference--or that makes a difference in the wrong direction. The excitement of creating something uniquely valuable that differentiates your company or product year after year. It’s the kind of decision that can keep you awake at night, no matter what you choose to do.
A Fortune 5 technology company asked Lab Zero to explore Tableau; a business intelligence tool for connecting to myriad data sources and creating advanced data visualizations. We built a reporting infrastructure for an organization with disparate data sources, and gained some insights on Tableau along the way.
The team looks to the Product Manager to establish the product vision, to set priorities, and to act as primary liaison to stakeholders. Setting priorities- and communicating the priorities effectively- aligns the team for value creation while eliminating waste. But managing priorities and expectations is a challenging task, and there are lots of different ways to do it. Here are a few tools in our prioritization toolkit that we’ve used in challenging situations.
It's received wisdom that the developer just needs to understand how the design works, and implement it without changing it. But how many times does the developer start coding the design, and notice something that wasn't anticipated by the design? We find that it's quite often. The developer is the first person who actually sees the system doing (or trying to do) what the user needs it to do. What kinds of observations do we harvest while they’re in the throes of writing the code?
Your demo is going super-smooth. No cracks. No gaps. Everything is working according to design. A dynamite end to a flawless sprint. Then Dave, who has been absent most of the last quarter, stands up and says:
In many ways, Covid has just accelerated the evolution of software development that was already in progress. Virtual collaboration, empowered teams, new models for meeting across time and space: we are all turning a corner toward a remote-first workplace. Some developers who had already made the jump to remote work are thriving, and even designers working remotely for the first time have prospered as well. Fewer meetings, more accountability, and management by results are music to the ears of many. But overall, Covid hasn’t meant a rosier world for producing high quality software. There’s a difference between having options for how to work and having a single option imposed overnight. Here are a few of the hurdles we’re seeing our clients encounter, and how we’re helping them overcome them.
We may think the toughest challenges in an Agile project are domain-specific — how to use our distinct engineering, design and product skills to create something that’s desirable, viable and feasible. We focus on improving our process, frameworks and tools.
Your development team isn’t ready to start building things until they align on the definitions of two words, ‘ready’ and ‘done’. Think of these as the most important quality gates that you and your team can invest in that will quickly improve Sprint predictability, and overall product quality.