In over 15 years of consulting, I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of clients and stakeholders. While many of them were memorable for different reasons, some clients have been truly outstanding in terms of our working relationship and what we were able to accomplish together.
When you hire a software team, you probably have a pretty good understanding of the technical roles they need to fill: development, design, devops, testing, etc. But don’t gloss over the leadership roles—especially the ones that your team may be responsible for. Read more on Six Leadership Roles that Can Make or Break Your Software Project…
If you’re about to invest in custom software, you have high hopes for what it can do for your business. As my colleague Mike wrote recently:
Building custom software is like sculpting with clay—you can create just about anything you can imagine. Read more on Six Pitfalls on the Road to Valuable Custom Software…
The best process is owned by its team, but everyone has to start somewhere. That’s why I drafted this, a template for Atomic Object’s Agile process. It’s designed to be a starting point for our maker teams as they come together to tackle a new project.
Read more on The Atomic Agile Process…
Uncertainty is inherent to software development — it’s impossible to precisely predict how long individual tasks will take. And that makes it very difficult to manage software projects using traditional project management tools.
If you’re a client working with a polyvalent team of makers at Atomic Object, one of the most valuable things you can do is to give feedback throughout the project. This may come as a shock to you. In the past, you might have been involved in a project where feedback wasn’t welcome—or even treated as downright hostile. If that’s the case, let me be the first (and hopefully not the last) to apologize on behalf of consultants everywhere. Read more on 7 Guidelines for Constructive Design Feedback…
It’s inevitable that bugs will be created during custom software development projects. And it’s not unusual for clients to have the mindset that the development team should “pay” for the bugs.
When you work with Atomic Object, you’ll hear a lot about Agile software development. Agile takes many different forms, but all of them are, at heart, about writing better software faster. Agile is part philosophy, part methodology, and part discipline. The Agile Manifesto emphasizes people instead of mechanical processes.
But before diving into the specifics of how Agile works, let’s back up and look at the problem Agile is trying to solve. Why come up with a new system in the first place?
Atomic Object has no dedicated, specialized project managers.
Instead, we have project leads who play multiple roles of implementor, team lead, and project manager.
Benefits of the Project Lead Model
As a designer or developer, the project lead is intimately familiar with the product’s user needs and related features. They know the team’s implementation plan and can creatively consider alternatives if constraints challenge the original plan. By also playing the project manager role, the project lead will be able to anticipate constraints early on and manage the team and scope appropriately.
For instance, let’s pretend you are the project lead, and your team is working on an administrative reporting interface that shows eight key reports related to user conversions and activity. The reports are going to be run monthly by one person. As the reporting interface is being designed, the client identifies other ways their users want to manipulate reports and select data. Read more on Project Leads vs. Project Managers…
Atomic’s success ultimately depends on our client’s success, and their success turns on much more than the quality of the software we build. This drives a lot of our business decisions:
- We brought design practices and designers into Atomic back in 2007 to help our clients determine the right thing to build.
- We start every project by digging into the business ecosystem and our client’s business goals — that understanding helps our teams contribute valuable new ideas and guides development priorities.
- We’re as diligent with deployment and hosting as we are with programming and design.
- We offer beneficial support agreements.
In short, we take a broad view of what’s necessary for market success and provide help well beyond programming. Read more on The First Tech Hire – Helping Clients Build their Software Company…