This is the first of a couple of posts that I have had in my drafts waiting to be completed for a while now, I apologise if they seem a little out of context.
I came across this blog post in which the author makes a couple of points that are similar to those that I was trying to convey whilst working on the Skunkworks project before Christmas to the Steering Group and in particular, the person who was acting as the Product Owner.
I know all of this stuff shouldn’t still be bothering me, I am off work for another 9 weeks but it is. It’s important for me that the product that we were working to develop doesn’t fall flat on it’s face. Before I left it sounded though that it was going to be released to the general public and a press release made about it, having just checked the URL though it would appear that somebody has put some sort of Username / Password on it to deny access so maybe it has been sent to a limited audience. Let’s hope so.
The trouble that I think there is with releasing software that is not fully functioning is that, in my opinion, people are prepared to try any new piece of software, be it desktop or web based, I share the sentiments of the author of this post, however, that people will only continue to use software that is functioning fully. I think the rule that 80% of users only use 20% of the functionality is true and that if we as a company are to continue to develop software aimed at the commerical market we should concentrate on delivering the core feature set very well with our first bit of funding looking to then focus on the other 80%. Sadly, during the meeting that I attended with the digital steering group prior to my departure when I suggested this as an approach, I don’t think it was taken on board. Still, on my return I can perhaps continue to work moving to delivering software in that way. I think there are definitely others in the department that share my desire to see us work in this way.
Given the time constraints that we were exposed to during the project’s lifecycle one thing that we didn’t build in was scalability, we did everything that was necessary to allow to us to deliver as quickly as possible, because of the hosting environment that the organisation has and the controls that are enforced we were unable to use things like rails or django which is unfortunate as these would have obviously given us an advantage in terms of speed to deliver. Scalability will become an issue if this sofware is released to the general public without a team gaving been established to support and develop it going forward. In my opinion if the company is going to fund this going forward a Scrum team or at the very least a project team should be established to progress this piece of software in a way that those on the digital steering group would expect.
It’s interesting times for my company and my department in particular and I am dissapointed that I am not there to experience it and be part of it.