Build it right, build it once.
Conduct’s development process is underpinned by best-in-class project management methodologies and tools.
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is created by populating a list of user stories into a backlog. This occurs once a business requirement is defined and the project scope understood. The backlog serves as a guide to the features being developed.
We have a firmer grasp of the development schedule and estimated costs from the scope. We forecast a long-term projection of resource availability, a granular view on day-to-day effort, and use a suite of communication channels to plan, organise and mobilise team members.
Conduct’s engineers work autonomously, follow story-based tasks and use an open source and commercial toolset avoiding proprietary codebases, libraries or software.
We internally review and test the product as a team. We take our code seriously and have systems in-place to ensure our output is of the highest quality.
A phased release approach provides the opportunity to trial new systems and to incorporate feedback continuously. All deployments from ‘dev to prod’ are fully automated – including build, copy and database migrations. These are controlled processes created to ensure fast, consistent deployments with minimal service downtime.
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BacklogThe backlog is a list of everything that needs to be completed within the project. All user stories, tasks, improvements and bugs are housed within the backlog until they are scheduled to be tackled in a sprint.
Backlogs are constantly evolving throughout a product’s lifecycle and are listed in priority order.
User storiesWe populate the backlog with user stories to describe the agreed featureset before commencing production. User stories describe a feature from the user’s perspective. They are structured to describe who the user is, what they want and why they want it.
As a [user role] I want to [functionality requested] so that [purpose and / or result].
As a user, I want to be able to login to my account so that I can view my previous transactions.
Functional specificationA functional specification is a formal document used to detail a product’s intended capabilities. It serves as a ‘manual’ for developers, and bridges the gap between design and development. The functional specification describes what the product does. The technical specification describes how the proposed solution will work.
Technical specificationA comprehensive technical specification describes how the proposed solution will work. It's a document outlining the complete technical solution, including APIs and system architecture. Technical specification documents describe in granular detail logic, toolset, business rules, data specification and schemas.
During the technical specification phase, we’ll work together to determine the appropriate technology stack to ensure a fit for purpose solution.
We also identify any third party products, integrations or partnerships that require licensing and the associated costs.
SprintA sprint is a period of time dedicated to the production of pre-agreed features.
Sprints are generally one or two weeks, and don’t change once they have commenced. Before starting a sprint, we hold a sprint planning meeting to prepare and agree on the work to be undertaken during the sprint.
The estimated backlog of work is planned into a sprint based on priority level of each story and overall sprint goal.
Story pointsThe work effort of stories populated in the backlog is estimated using story points. Points are a way of estimating based on the level of effort and the risk involved in developing the story. Points are selected from: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. Lower numbers indicate less risk and complexity, while higher numbers indicate more risk and complexity. Stories marked as 13 are too complex; they are broken into smaller stories to ensure no tasks with too many unknowns commence.
WIPWork In Progress updates, or ‘WIP’ are an essential tool for communication to clients. At Conduct, we use a variety of methods to keep communication open dependant on your needs and preferences.
Common ways to keep clients up to date include:
- Recorded video updates
- Video conference
- Online project diaries
- Confluence project pages
- Slack channels
- And of course… trusty email!
Project burndown‘Burndown’ is an Agile project management term to describe resource utilisation against outstanding estimated work effort. A burndown chart provides a picture of whether the project is tracking accurately to estimations. It is a useful tool to continuously validate where project components may be taking longer than expected, and identify the source of overrun. Conversely, it can identify where project estimation may have been pessimistic.
Stand-upWe hold short stand-ups (5 - 15 minute meetings) every day. Daily stand-ups enable close monitoring of sprint progress. They allow teams to identify potential risks or issues early and to respond proactively.
Each person shares the following:
- Yesterday’s task/s
- Today’s task/s
- Blockers to completing today’s work
- How I’m feeling about today