Gangnam Style Won’t Help You Manage Your Project, but Agile Will!

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By: Rob Jordan | 11.26.12

We’ve been setting up Salesforce databases for nonprofits since 2006 and now have roughly 750 deployments under our belt and we’ve learned a few things along the way. One is, use a formal project management style for solution deployments! There are three major project management styles out there; Agile, Waterfall and Scrum.  

We have used each style, but the truth is roughly 80% of all projects can be facilitated in an Agile fashion and it is even more likely Agile project management will be utilized when deploying solutions in the cloud.  But what is Agile and what does it mean?  In the interest of keeping it simple (a major consideration with Agile deployment) we have compiled the fundamentals of Agile in a handy cheat sheet for reference.  Have a look and feel free to reach out to us with questions...  

Agile Project Management Defined

Moving from one contact management database to another requires the user to understand the structure and native functionality of the new database in order to inform how workflows and processes will function within that structure. While basic database concepts can be communicated, it is often difficult for the user to conceptualize how processes will translate to this new structure.

Agile project management solves this problem. The project structure is as follows:

1. Prototype
2. Tweak
3. Launch
4. Improve

The major shift from many other project management styles is that step one is no longer focused on workflows and process design. This is especially helpful with database deployments because it addresses the realities of projects that are too complex for the user to understand and direct before testing within a prototype.

This project management format allows the database user to focus time and resources on tweaking workflows and processes within the new database structure and addresses issues as they arise rather than attempting to anticipate issues before fully comprehending how the database structure will overlay with their processes.

Areas Agile Works Well:

  • Email template design
  • System interface design
  • Report creation
  • Project management strategy

Problems Eased with Agile Project Deployment:

  • Timelines that take months or even years
  • Scalability debates
  • Interminable staff meetings
  • The “need” to hire dozens of employees
  • Meaningless version numbers
  • Pristine roadmaps that predict the perfect future
  • Endless preference options
  • Outsourced support
  • Unrealistic user testing
  • Useless paperwork
  • Top-down hierarchy

*All concepts provided in this handout have been extracted from the book Getting Real: The faster, smarter, easier way to build a successful web application by 37 Signals (the designers of Basecamp) which can be downloaded here for free!

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