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Software Development and Project Management Methodologies

At Blue Acorn iCi, we engage in a variety of projects, each one being unique. We will determine the most ideal project management and software development methodology to use in order to provide the best project outcome. If you plug the term “Project Management Methodology” into your favorite search browsers you will find a number of sites recommending which methodology to use based on your project type.

Our team uses a number of factors to help determine the right methodology to utilize.  We review the project requirements as well as the following:

  • Project type – have we done this type of project before?
  • Project requirements – fixed or fluid
  • Task sequence – fixed or flexible
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Timeline – fixed or flexible

Below are some examples of different methodologies and when we might use them.

Upgrades

Upgrades in AEM tend to take a more predictive path.  The tasks required to get a client from one version of AEM to another (6.2 to 6.4 for example) have a defined set of steps that need to happen in a certain order. Some of the steps are:

  1. Clone the current environment
  2. Apply upgrade to clone
  3. Apply any service packs to code
  4. Regression test

The customer is really not involved in the project until it is time for UAT. For this type of project, we would run a more traditional (waterfall) methodology. The waterfall method is a relatively sequential approach and is less iterative when compared to other methodologies.

New Development

New development is a candidate for utilizing an agile framework. Agile frameworks tend to be more iterative when compared to the waterfall methodology. Agile methodologies are more collaborative and welcoming of change throughout the project. Just because we are engaging in new development (component, template, features, etc) does not mean an agile approach is automatically dictated. Our team would still review with the project stakeholders to determine if this is the best approach.

For most projects, we utilize a hybrid methodology that incorporates the best of both traditional and agile approaches. This is because most projects do not neatly fall into either the traditional or agile category. There always seems to be some parts of a project that falls into the traditional development methodology. And most projects can benefit from some aspects of the agile methodology. For example, we will almost always have daily touch points with the development team. This helps us all understand the project status, what each team member is working on, and who needs help. Our team also provides project updates to our clients on a weekly basis, at the very least. And we present demonstrations at most weekly meetings to ensure that we are still moving in a direction that will deliver the most value for our clients.

At Blue Acorn iCi, there is no one way to manage a project. We have a detailed PMO Playbook that guides the project managers and allows flexibility. It is all about delivering the best product and value for our clients, not about the methodology used to get there.

Dan Spano
Dan Spano has over 20 years of experience moving organizations forward through change initiatives. His expertise in analytical problem solving, assimilating teams to new environments, and developing roadmaps to operational goals, create the foundation for his role as Director of Project Management Office. He provides leadership, coordination, and management of the processes and functions necessary to deliver successful client outcomes.
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