This time I am telling the truth, this will be a short journal entry! At class on Monday, Jenni encouraged us to consider how we might manage our projects. She suggested looking at Agile as an option and as a result I decided to look back at my coursework from the project management module that I took back in 2014/15. This was a helpful venture as it helped me to remember the things that I liked about Agile, namely the user stories that were then broken down into tasks and then structured as deliverables as part of the sprints. Lately, my workflow has started off with User Characteristics leading to the construction of personae and tasks. This process has always been rather torturous as it feels like you can spend so long building the personae that you might miss some crucial observations along the way or get too invested in the archetype which you have spent a lot of time constructing. With the agile Scrum method particularly I like how the Customer Stories cover the top-level practicalities and then I also think that using the “MoSCoW system” (Must have, Should have, Could have and Won’t have this time; Agile Business Consortium, 2008) will be particularly helpful for this project in terms of maintaining discipline to deliver the minimum viable product.
So, I have decided to use a paired down version of Scrum where I implement a few core elements. For instance:
- the typical team structure and budgeting elements will be omitted as I am a team of one.
- the Product Backlog containing the User Stories will be included, but will be presented via Evernote (2017) and Trello (2017).
- I will include a product burndown chart probably as a Google doc, but I won't do a chart for each release, as again it is just me and it is better for me to focus on doing.
- I will break down stories into tasks and these can be used to support any structure and wireframing.
- both the task list and the backlog will be flexible documents throughout the project. I will consider risks as I go along, but an exhaustive list of risks is out of scope for this project.
- I will use my reflections on this site to explore potential issues as they arise.
- finally, as user research activities are related to customer stories but may overlap with several there are some tasks that might diverge from user stories and will standalone. I will try to connect them to user stories and tasks, but again it is best to get on with
it rather than getting too involved in creating overly complex project management connections.
Basically what I mean be this is, if I wait to have all the user stories finished prior to working on design artefacts, I'll end up with a chicken and egg situation. The two species need to co-exist acknowledging that they are mutually beneficial to one another.
I have been using Trello since it’s first year in operation and I have always wanted to try out an Agile workflow with it. I found this video from the makers of Trello, showing how it could be used for an Agile project - Perfect! As I don’t have an office for my student work, a whiteboard or anywhere/wall that I can leave post-it notes, so this will work well for me. One of my first tasks was to add a link to the Trello in the navigation of this site, which I have now done. This actually took a bit longer than I had hoped as I am still learning about how the Ruby architecture sitting under this blog works and it is not as standardised as WordPress (n.d.).
Also as we discussed in class, I will check out the Jobs to be Done book by Anthony W. Ulwick (2016) as this might also provide an alternative and an opportunity to investigate a method other than personae.
Agile Business Consortium Ltd. (2008). MoSCoW Prioritisation. In DSDM Atern Handbook. Retrieved from https://www.agilebusiness.org/content/moscow-prioritisation-0
Caroll, J. (2012). Agile project management in easy steps[Kindle edition]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00M4MK0S4
Evernote, Corporation. (2017). Evernote for Mac [Computer software]. Retrieved from https://evernote.com/
Trello, Inc. (2017). Trello [Computer software]. Retrieved from https://trello.com/
Ulwick, A. W. (2016). Jobs to be Done: Theory to Practice [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from http://amzn.eu/7BpXFp0
WordPress. (n.d.). WordPress.org [Computer software]. Retrieved from https://wordpress.org/