9 Steps to Jump Start a Project

Simple steps to quickly collect requirements and iterate before starting development.

  • Whiteboard — The biggest whiteboard or any writing surface that you can find, since there will be a lot of brainstorming and idea capturing along the way (if using a whiteboard, make sure to separate sharpies from the dry erase markers, I can’t tell you how often we accidentally mix them up).
  • Sticky Notes
  • Snacks
  • I want to hide ‘X’ field. (This would be on the Application Administrator row)
  • I want to add an application. (This would be on the Location Manager row)
  • Location Manager Dashboard.
  • Application page (where the applicant will enter their information).
  • Application list page (where the location manager will view all the submitted applications).
  • Field configuration page (where the application administrator can configure the forms).

Next Steps:

  • Take pictures of everything on the board and document somewhere. We use Confluence by Atlassian to keep all of our documentation and notes.
  • Take all the User Stories sticky notes and add them to your system of choice to manage stories.
  • A good thing to try is to build a prototype or a proof of concept. This is very useful because you can have something for sales to use, or something you can present to clients or end users to start gathering feedback. Here is a article by Allen Helton, that talks about how to create rapid prototypes and really get something valuable quickly. Rapid prototyping is a valuable exercise since you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it but you get very good information out of it and let you course correct immediately instead of 3 months later when you are done with the application.

Closing thoughts

I can’t stress enough how important iteration is, not just for this process, but whenever you can iterate on something in smaller pieces, you can get immediate feedback and correct yourself quicker. You don’t want to spend too much time building something that might not really solve the problem. It saves time in the long run, even though it might seem like you are throwing away a lot of code at the end, the benefits are huge.

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