How We Develop Custom Software On Time & On Budget
This is part of a blog series of Improvement Interactive’s journeys in enterprise application development. Improvement Interactive develops large, complex systems for a variety of clients. Today’s installment discusses managing client relations when building enterprise applications for Fortune 500 companies.
There is an incredible shift in today’s market landscape for countless businesses. Corporations and initiatives are being forced to address digital strategies to meet growing demand, and reach the level of engagement and functionality that customers expect — putting a lot of pressure on IT to keep up.
As software development systems become more complex, there are a myriad of ways an IT project can get bogged down or go off course. In fact, a Standish Group study reported that 50% of IT projects are challenged or fail outright. As our development processes become more complex, targets and goals become blurry, and when they’re not clearly in view, chances of failing’s the business’s needs, being off schedule or over budget increases.
We want to make sure this won’t happen, so we built our own project management system to give our developers, our clients and their executives a crystal-clear view of every moving piece in a project.
Speed and Impact
We created Infrature Projects to manage our development processes. As a distributed team working with multiple clients with huge projects, we needed to be able to manage, track, prioritize and see the big picture — all at once. What we ended up with is actually really cool.
Infrature tracks all releases, project requirements and their time estimations and displays the information real-time in an interactive dashboard visible and used by all of our developers and our client teams. At a glance, you can see the “speed” of the team and the impact on the projects completion forecast displayed in a dashboard.
As our developers work towards completing tasks, Infrature tracks the team’s unique work speed and developer estimations of the time it would take to complete that work. It then automatically creates a forecast of each task’s completion date range and how it contributes to the project release. Utilizing historical data, the system forecasts the likelihood of meeting the completion target for the project — displaying the completion range in a calendar view on the dashboard. Therefore, our deadlines are continuously monitored, allowing for management intervention in time to either meet or change the target — which is vital to business success.
Setting Needs and Goals
As a company, we create a true partnership with our clients and deeply involve them in the development process. Integrating them as part of the team, we work together on a daily basis, reviewing project status, setting up development goals and action items to complete those goals.
Clients have full access to the dashboard, and can add their specific needs, priorities and deadlines to the project as business needs change. New features, changes to existing features or fixes on projects can be moved around to address any changes (or crises!) that arise. Once added to the project list, we assess, add action items, and then assign to the appropriate development team.
Our daily team meeting is made easy with an automated “Agenda” function that creates a simple list of agenda items to address priorities, express concerns, give feedback, or even change the scope of the project. The agenda page highlights anything the client would want to know about; impediments, things to consider, or staffing issues. Keeping discussions on high priority items keeps our daily meetings short and to the point, covering exactly what is needed for that day without additional preparation.
At a Glance
Infrature tracks all project activity to provide valuable metrics and data for management. We track:
- Needs and action items
- Estimates of action items
- Time remaining for each action item
- The team’s speed
- What stage of completion each action item is in (Estimate, Doing, Done, Test and Needs Approval).
- Items that that need to be corrected because of issues or bugs.
- The impact that a need will have on the business.(Extra Small to Extra Large)
- Flagged needs that require impediments to be cleared, assistance from the client, a manager or other team member.
- Backlogged Items
- Vacation or sick time being used (To help estimate when the project will be completed).
Managing the complexity of software development is essential. With Infrature, we’re able to ensure that every project will be (at least very close to):
- On Time
- On Budget
- Meeting Business Needs
And — our clients get clear transparency and visibility into their critical business projects.
To learn more about Infrature Projects, Improvement Interactive and how you can improve your competitive advantage through custom solutions, contact us.
About Improvement Interactive
The core Improvement Interactive team has worked together for over 20 years. We have a proven track record of delivering enterprise software solutions to our customers. Improvement Interactive combines software development and process improvement to provide solutions to your business. Improvement Interactive stays with you for the long-haul, helping you to manage change and achieve success. We integrate scalable, secure technology into your processes and existing IT environment.
One client manages more than 14,000 units and more than $20 billion in transactions annually with an Improvement Interactive built system. For another, we built a worldwide training management system spanning 40 countries and six continents.
Improvement Interactive is about business. We use technology to help you improve your business.