(this article is translated from french original article written by Nicolas Réau)
After having precisely defined the global idea of the project as explained in the previous note, we had to complete the website we were responsible of. We won this part of the contract because of our proposed costs and solution given the short notice (less than 8 weeks for the first version), that were realistic unlike other responses to the tender).
We were able to propose this thanks to:
- An offshore development team (reducing costs)
- An agile method of project management (gain speed and quality)
- The XWiki development platform
The set up of an offshore development team
To provide competitive cost of development, Kimind has been working from the beginning with an offshore development team located in China. We have acquired a great expertise on the subject, tested on many large scale projects. The offshore development is a very current topic… It clearly requires a good knowledge of remote collaborative work and management, and agile methodologies when you are a small team. Which is fortunate, because everyone is teleworking at Kimind !
In addition to financial benefits, the agile operating methodology used with the development team, needed because of distance to avoid skidding, greatly contributes to fluidify the project progress!
Quality monitoring and compliance with specifications , reporting
Our client did not have to directly deal with the development team. A Kimind’s consultant acted as an interface and has been the single point of contact and project management. This avoids the communication problems associated with offshore.
The consultant acts as a coordinator between the different actors (customers, developers, designers …), supports the definition of detailed functional specifications based on feedbacks and monitors quality and progress.
The reporting was done transparently using a collaborative platform website, Google Sites in this case, since it was possible for our customer to follow the project evolution in real time and to give their feedback when necessary. Indeed, developers reported directly their progress there, specifications and other documentations were stored, avoiding any functional misunderstanding.
By the way, we notice that this way of working often helps to make people more sensitive to the “2.0” working methods, and they often emerge conquered! (Once the apprehension of the lack of an ultra-detailed specification is exceeded (aka “the umbrella”)) ☺
We were able to show a large flexibility. The agile methodology used, based on short iterations and customers’ feedbacks allow us to anticipate and resolve problems quickly, and also to change the specifications throughout the project if necessary, keeping well in mind the imperatives of time.
We have managed from start to finish the project, from requirements definition to delivery, providing both functional expertise and technical execution. All this, on the basis of very competitive costs due to the offshore development team and the use of the open source XWiki platform for development.
The client was very satisfied by the result that was shown in a trade show less than 8 weeks after starting the project and has fully covered its expectations (functional, budgetary, delays). Feedbacks on the project progress were very positive, particularly concerning the reactivity of different actors and flexibility.
But all this was possible only because of the mutual trust relationship: no one was hiding behind a rigid 200 pages specifications, and everyone (the client, we, developers, designers …) worked with one goal in mind: keeping responsibilities and completing the project. This is for a light project management: a great confidence and reliability of collaborators.
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