Friday
Aug282015

Advisors and Board Members

As a partner in DeveloperTown, I have an interesting role when it comes to our clients. Part of our pitch to our clients is that we are more than a vendor - we want to be a partner. In many cases we want to have skin in the game in the form of an investment, but even without an investment we really want to play a leadership role when it comes to technology and determining product-market-fit. Most of the time, this leadership or advisor role is informal. By choosing us as a technology partner, you get some portion of our leadership team engaged in your business (for better or worse). However, at times, it can be unclear how much of an advisor our client is expecting and/or looking for, and how much we are prepared to provide. When things are informal, there’s a chance for missed expectations. I hate mismanaged expectations. So occasionally, it makes sense to formalize the relationship so everyone’s on the same page. ...

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Tuesday
Jul152014

Why the RFP process doesn't work

Why does an RFP process lead to increased cost? Without discussion of the many tradeoffs noted above, there’s no room for the technology team to recommend alternative methods to accomplish the end goals. Ideally, you’d like to find a team to help you solve a problem. Instead, most RFPs tend to lead to teams implementing a given narrow solution. Which assumes the problem is fully understood and adequately solved by the submitted proposal. It costs more to be wrong and have to go back to first principles than it does to move in a more exploratory way at the onset where you continuously question core assumptions and validate those assumptions over time as the project unfolds.

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Saturday
Mar082014

A project case study

Last summer at DeveloperTown, we chartered a project to have Spencer (one of our interns) along with Chris (acting as product owner and tester) build a new product for an existing client of ours. The work was a bit speculative, but low risk since Chris and I really felt like we knew what the client wanted and needed. Chris and Spencer used a fairly standard vanilla scrum process – leveraging Pivotal Tracker and some other basic tools – to deliver the foundations of the product. Every two weeks or so they would get together to discuss stories, progress so far, and feature tradeoffs. In about three months, they had all the high-level features implemented. ...

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Thursday
Mar062014

The MVP Reading List

I regularly get asked for book references. From employees new to DeveloperTown, to founders who walk in the door and aren’t sure where to start, to people who look at what we do and how we work and ask how we figured all that stuff out. Some of it we figured out, much of it other people figured out and wrote down. We were smart enough to read it, apply it, and adapt it to the way we work. You can too.

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Monday
Nov042013

Three alternative uses for test management software

If a quality assurance team has implemented a sophisticated test management system, then its members have no doubt experienced some of the significant benefits this technology can provide, including syncing on-site and offshore teams, creating and storing automated test scripts and sharing testing resources across the entire company. Once these features have been digested and fully implemented, QA leaders might wonder how they can further take advantage of their test management software to wring the most value out of this high-performance utility. With a little creativity, QA management can discover innovative uses for this technology, optimizing the performance of software testers and developers.

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