Project management in the technological field is a key element for the success of the operation since it lays the foundations and general structure of the project to be carried out, since the other elements are built on this structure, such as the design of the interface, user experience, concept validation, quality tests, among others.
For these projects to progress, we must first understand their purpose, as well as the current, future, explicit and implicit needs of our clients, their end-users, and the respective stakeholders. Subsequently, and understanding the scope of the solution, we divided the project into phases that allow us to carry it out in an agile and efficient way.
This is where the difficulty comes since we must strategically assign each activity to be carried out, understanding that we must complete one to continue with the next, however, the question constantly arises: is this task/activity “done”? Is it not related to another future task that may affect your status?
These and other questions are the most common of the thought, being the main debate that both the client (Product Owner) and the project leaders should have on the part of the software development companies.
Define the meaning of “Done”
The Definition of “Done” is when all the conditions, or acceptance criteria, that a software product must satisfy are fulfilled, so that it functionally meets the requirements of a user, client, team, or is available for use by Another system, complying with the established quality parameters. This prevents any incomplete feature/functionality from being put into production, generating errors, and rework when having to return to make the correct corrections, as well as dissatisfaction from customers and/or end-users.
This definition is determined at the beginning of each project, usually in the meetings held by the Product Owner and development leaders, however, it usually happens that as the project progresses, this definition is restated several times, so that the expectations of the same end up coupling to the practice, as well as to the different parameters of quality, work process, among others.
Having clear when a feature/functionality is “done”, then you can get a better idea of where we are in the project, allowing us to make more accurate and clear decisions about how much to complete and when the respective resources should be included in the project.
A key element, which will help us enormously in this definition, consists of the so-called User stories, these could be defined as the path that users follow within our development to carry out the desired tasks.
One of the biggest risks that can occur from not having a clear definition and understanding of the parts occurs precisely when presenting all the requirements completed during the project, precisely at the end of each iteration, where at the moment we make the necessary reviews we will realize that these requirements are not completely finalized, generating debates on real progress.
The importance of agreeing terms
When a user story or an increment (set of stories) is “Done”, everyone on the team should understand the same thing: that this functionality/increment can now go into production. Although this understanding is the result of transparency and trust between the parties, the most evident part is when you usually advance to the next phase of the project, for example: when the Scrum team finishes a sprint.
Another important aspect is to define how to complete a feature, functionality, story, or increment must be to move to the next stage. If this is of vital importance for the entire project, then it should be considered as a minimum criterion. Otherwise, part and part misunderstandings will occur again.
However, the definition of “Done” may evolve. When the relationship between the Product Owner and the Scrum team matures and develops positively, it may happen that the definition of “Done” previously used in the increments is expanded during the Retrospective and feedback meetings, including new criteria of higher quality, based on more practical parameters.
Relationship between “Done” and Acceptance Criteria
An important element to determine the status of some features, functionality, etc. It is the so-called Acceptance Criteria, its most basic definition is when it meets all the minimum requirements necessary to be able to be put into production, both on a technical and functional and operational level, among others.
The acceptance criteria are important for:
- Manage expectations, both for the Product Owner and for the Scrum team.
- Define scope and reduce ambiguity.
- Establish test criteria for quality control.
- Avoid scope change in the middle of the Sprint, which directly affects planning.
Use of the Definition of “Done” in the Phases of a Project
Once this definition is understood, as well as the minimum Acceptance Criteria, those responsible for planning the project will be able to prepare the appropriate sheet/roadmap for the development of the product/service, as well as the global estimate of the effort to invest in order to comply effectively with User Stories.
In turn, it defines the amount of work to be defined in each Sprint, since it will be used as a guide to comply with the definition of the criteria established in the planning meeting and in the subsequent follow-up and retrospective meetings. This results in better evidence at the completion of one phase of the project and the start of the next.
Impacts of the lack or misapplication of the Definition of “Done”
One of the main effects of an incomplete or misapplication of the Definition of “Done” is “Technical Debt, which refers to the additional work produced by an implementation of functionality or feature that was not completed, or that did not comply with all the minimum necessary requirements, such as having carried out the appropriate quality tests, or documentation.
As a main consequence, we find that the team must rework to finalize the minimum requirements in the previously approved functional / characteristics, which generates delays and loss of resources.
Tips to keep in mind when writing the Definition of “Done”
- Involve the team: include in the planning stage the largest number of responsible team members, in this way everyone will be able to give their point of view and bring to the table topics that only could be seen later in the project. Improving the vision of the project and when one phase would end and another would begin.
- Perform user stories: This valuable resource allows us to identify user needs from their point of view. The better defined they are, the easier it will be to determine when development is “Done”.
- Comply with the technical requirements: it is very important that all the functionalities and technical requirements are met, so that the development has the accepted quality parameters, guaranteeing that the application has the expected performance.
- Compliance with requirements: It is very important that all the functionalities and requirements are reached at a technical level, so that the development has the accepted quality parameters, guaranteeing that the application has the performance expected.
- Execute functional and non-functional Testing: Validating the quality and that the technical requirements are properly tested is key. No development of any kind should be considered “Done” without having gone through the Testing & QA process.
- Contemplate the Epics: where “Done” at this level can refer to a strategic priority of the organization, an objective of the business plan, or some set of requirements that satisfy a market need.
The art of managing a project goes beyond dividing it into phases and allocating resources and delivery dates, the most important thing being to thoroughly understand both the client’s requirements and to have the technical domain necessary to know how to allocate resources correctly.
Huenei’s processes included in its Agile Services Proposal include agreeing with its clients on the Definition of “Done” for their services, allowing transparency in the results and confidence in the progress of the work.
Likewise and as part of the commitment in the application of Our Values of Customer Orientation and Efficiency, we monitor and carry out performance effectiveness metrics of our teams by measuring the level of rework due to deficiencies in the application of the Definition of “Done” and its acceptance criteria.
In terms of carrying out tasks, the key is for the entire team (both internal and on behalf of the client) to be in tune and understand what is needed for software development, feature, and functionality to be fully completed, allowing progress to be made with the project like to raise the flag to indicate that something is missing.
Regardless of industry or size, the businesses that operate globally today rely on commercial application systems to stimulate production chains, manage markets, maintain connections with partners and customers, and drive operations in the short and medium-term.
Therefore, many companies need to outsource application management, but they have no idea how much they need it, or how soon they should have it. If you consider that your company may require this process and need more information, in the next section we will tell you how to determine it and how to carry it out successfully.
Determine the scope and need of your company
We often find companies where their comparative advantage and focus of their business rely heavily on technology, but not only in-house for a single department, but also for processes that support the entire company.
Therefore, it turns out to be more efficient and even profitable to opt for Outsourced Application Management. To determine if this is one of the needs of your company, answer the following basic questions:
Do we have identified which technological activities and processes will be of great support to manage my business more efficiently? Do we have difficulty finding, hiring, and retaining technology-savvy professionals? Do we have sufficient command of technological platforms and applications by ourselves? Can we keep them updated without a problem? Do we want to manage a trained in-house team to face all the challenges that the company’s technological management requires?
By answering these questions, you will quickly and easily determine the needs of your company against AMO.
Types of outsorcing and their strategies
In this sense, the provider will be in charge of comprehensively managing all the activities related to the support, improvement, and optimization of the applications belonging to the company. This type of outsourcing should provide technological services, and in turn, provide ideas and recommendations to economize, improve and evolve applications, taking into account new business requirements. In addition, it will be responsible for implementing appropriate digital innovation initiatives and business continuity plans in the event of unexpected situations (such as the COVID-19 pandemic).
This type of OAM consists of entrusting the provider with only a very specific part of the management of the company’s applications. Their responsibility may be related to troubleshooting or updating and improving resources, or they may also encompass a group of objectives such as monitoring, management, troubleshooting, and application maintenance. This type of outsourcing is recommended for those areas that are more complex than individual tasks but do not interfere with any more complete process.
Some tips to get the right partner for your project
To choose the right partner for your company, the first thing we must take into account will be some fundamental details of its preparation and technological mastery. For example:
- Must possess sufficient technical knowledge of various technologies and be able to provide feasible solutions.
- You must have experience in agile service delivery methodologies that allows you to understand which is the most efficient way in which you can divide a project into several phases.
- The partner must be scalable, that is, there must be the possibility of adding more members to the team if necessary to meet the times of a project.
- The cost-benefit ratio is another important point for outsourcing. The number of hours to allocate and the seniority of the team are some of the elements that should be examined calmly before closing a contract.
- Consider looking for a partner that can align in terms of time zone, this way communication will be much more fluid.
Once we have found the professional who adapts to all our needs, it is time to create a favorable work dynamic whose organization is key to achieving the proposed objectives in the expected time. Some of the actions that as a company you should take into account are the following:
Define your expectations with this process
It is important that the partner knows exactly what is expected of their work and why they were selected, this will help to lay the foundations for a good business relationship, as well as a better performance of the project. From this, the service measurement indicators can be identified.
Provide your partner with all the necessary knowledge about the industry
A checklist of the activities or processes required is not the best option, it is necessary for your partner to internalize the needs of the business, what are the final customers and what do they need, what are the expectations of the industry, among others. Involve this professional as part of the work team, as another member of the company, and it is very likely that you will get better results. In Huenei, the first phase of the AMO service execution is the training and knowledge transfer of those who are currently responsible for the applications.
Don’t forget to measure and compare
To understand what you can improve and how the overall performance of your project has been, it is important to keep the correct and updated metrics. In this way it will be possible to implement the corrections that the area requires instead of having setbacks or continuing with inefficient strategies. At Huenei we issue monthly metrics to our clients to measure the quality of the service (some graph can be included).
Define your company’s strategy
It is extremely important that your partner understands the path they must follow, what are the phases and objectives to be met in the short, medium and long term without needing to come to a standstill and ask “now what next?”. The annual planning of the service allows us to have a roadmap to assign the requirements of the business needs backlog.
Determine clear delivery dates
Maintaining an updated roadmap that indicates which processes or platforms will be outsourced and in what time, will be decisive in obtaining the expected results and without delays. This allows your partner to identify the demand for resources.
Never stop asking yourself “how can we improve”
Continual improvement is undoubtedly the key to successful work when it comes to outsourcing. Keep the entire team motivated and informed about every relevant aspect of the business and always ask how they can continue to add value to the work they do.
We are in an increasingly competitive world, so it is important that companies can implement more efficient systems to meet the needs of their customers and continue to improve within the industry.
In this sense, spending time and money optimizing your own resources and systems with the help of technology experts, as outsourcing is, is undoubtedly one of the smartest and most profitable ways to grow your business.
Most companies invest more and more resources in the administration and maintenance of their applications, as a result of continuing adding technologies with different functionalities, making the business more competitive. Due to the increasing investment of these efforts, there are several IT leaders who have resorted to outsourcing application maintenance.
This type of strategy has several benefits, such as focusing the talent of the company in key areas with greater added value, such as innovation and optimization of processes.
In addition, when outsourcing is chosen in the administration and maintenance of applications, it is known that companies can guarantee performance on predetermined services for their support and requirements, as well as in personnel destined to invest valuable time in the transfer of knowledge of the support of this apps.
Thanks to outsourcing, the company’s procedures and processes that directly intervene in the administration and maintenance of IT systems can be optimized, while achieving full visibility of each support and performance service with respect to SLAs.
What is Applications Management Services (AMS)?
The concept of AMS is based on outsourcing the support requirements of an application, using an external provider specialized in monitoring, reviewing and maintaining any application. In other words, AMS refers to the action of delegating certain procedures that preferably should not be performed by an internal IT team, simply because it is more efficient to be performed by an expert agent.
Do my company need AMS?
To decide if it is time to apply AMS in a company, the following should be considered:
- The cost of maintenance and monitoring of applications is increasing.
- Every application usually has failures, problems or incidents that must wait up to 24 hours or more for the fault to be determined and repaired.
- Usually, the internal development team does not usually have enough experience because the complexity of the topic requires a unique approach and constant research.
- It is also important in case some member of the team leaves the company and does not leave the necessary documentation to transfer information.
Types of AMS that can be applied to a company:
When we talk about outsourcing, companies can opt for at least two formulas:
- Complete outsourcing: A total service is expected from the supplier, which is why it is responsible for the complete management of activities related to supporting, updating and optimization of applications. In this way, the provider must provide not only technological services but also offer recommendations and ideas to optimize and evolve the applications in a more beneficial way according to the new business requirements. In addition, it should be responsible for structuring, facilitating and implementing relevant digital innovation initiatives.
- Selective outsourcing: In this case, the supplier is entrusted with the management of only a certain aspect of the application management that can be to solve problems or make the application more efficient. You can also delegate a set of specific aspects such as monitoring, performance management, troubleshooting and incidents and updating the application.
Benefits of implementing AMS in a company:
- Technical support and permanent monitoring: the outsourcing provider is in charge of the central operations, so the resignation of a team member, absence from vacations or medical rest will no longer be a concern for the company, nor for the rest of the team. With an AMS partner, no one will have to take on additional work and increased stress during the training and hiring process.
- Access to all the technological innovations: delegating the review and maintenance of the applications to a specialized provider that provides solutions focused on AMS, is also an opportunity to obtain all the new technology that is being developed in the area. Most managed service providers have expert professionals in a wide variety of applications.
- Taking advantage of outsourcing to optimize additional services: when outsourcing with a solution provider that offers good results, you can also entrust other core functions of the company to that same provider. It is a great advantage because this provider has knowledge about how your business operates so you can provide ideas or solutions for additional services that help improve the company in general.
- Greater opportunity for the company to grow: If the scope of the project that the outsourced team is taking care of or the portfolio of applications increases, it is much easier to scale and include more members who can keep up with the growth challenges of the company.
- The risk of downtime is minimized: outsourcing for application maintenance guarantees the continuity of IT work and reduces any downtime that can affect both the company and customers. Because the AMS team is responsible for optimizing or implementing new systems or new technologies, the rest of the company’s team can remain focused on the core business.
The AMS provider assumes the responsibility of managing a good part or all of its client’s applications, it all depends on what the company needs. This service focuses on making the management, implementation or solutions of the problems that arise more efficiently, in order to increase the commercial value of the applications.
An AMS team not only focuses on important aspects such as cost savings, but it can also address the strategic requirements of the companies that hire them. The best thing about this service is that they will know for sure the value of applications and chart a route for their future evolution.
Remote work has become more of a necessity today than a trend, becoming more and more relevant when outsourcing the IT operation. Especially when it comes to finding highly trained talent and, above all, adapting to the company’s budget.
The main concern of some executives when subcontracting is not being able to control the group or mistakenly think that a good job, done responsibly, can only be carried out within their office or in the same State / Country.
Both models, both in situ and remotely, can work quite well efficiently and productively, provided you have the right tools and mentality.
Next, we will give you 6 valuable tips so you can manage your work team with greater confidence and assertiveness.
Take into account a culturally aligned partner who dominates the language and is in the same time zone:
Although the main objective of outsourcing a remote team is to reduce costs, it is necessary to take into account cultural affinity and language has a very important value, as they will ensure that the team can adapt quickly to the corporate culture of the company.
We invite you to read our article “How we find the best IT talent for your project“, where we talk in more details about our hiring process.
Working with partners in the same time zone allows them to be in sync and work remotely without any problems. Considering these three points (culture, time zone, language) will avoid possible delays, misunderstandings or clashes between team members.
We currently have a highly diverse and multidisciplinary work team, potentially increasing our adaptability, regardless of the origin or location of our clients.
Offer a complete scope of the project to increase the fidelity of the technology partner:
To ensure that the entire team follows the planned work schedule and that they are familiar with the project, three determining actions must be carried out:
- Provide constant training on work processes and methodology, both of the company and the industry.
- Loyalty with the new technology partner through programs of rapprochement and mutual knowledge.
- Maintain constant feedback in order to create better working relationships.
It is vital to allow ideas from both sides to flow on how to optimize team performance, improving work progress and making timely corrections, if necessary.
An important element that has helped keep our customer satisfaction index high is to offer wide visibility, allowing our clients to have real-time measurements of work, as well as performance indicators and team management.
Establish a dynamic and organized workflow:
To achieve this order, the first thing that must be clear is the nature of the project. This will determine the methodology to be used and allow us to understand how to allocate resources effectively. Either the agile methodology Kanban for the realization of a support or maintenance of a Mobile Application, for example, or the Scrum methodology for a Custom Software Development.
It’s also necessary to determine which technology stack to use, based on current and future business needs. Daily monitoring and weekly meetings through different platforms are necessary to make the process even more efficient.
Among the tools we use to manage our Nearshore Development Team and visualize tasks and projects are Jira, Confluence, MS Teams, Sharepoint and Power BI.
Take the time to meet the Nearshore Team Leader (and the team as well):
Developing a relationship of mutual trust where all work patterns have been established and expectations are quite clear will be decisive for the results that the remote team can provide, guided by their leader.
The leader’s profile should be a solid combination between knowledge of the technical field and the ability to understand the business. Besides, it is important to evaluate the skills available to the remote team and weigh in what way the leader’s integration adds value to the project.
The leader must demonstrate the skills necessary to manage the project. Some of the skills that should be expected are:
- Excellent understanding of the objectives and vision of the project.
- Fluid communication with the Nearshore team.
- Perfect mastery of the times.
To develop this relationship of trust and transparency, our Service Manager visits the client monthly to review the team’s performance, new requirements, and future projects. The Service Manager and the Technical Leader of the team are the main contacts to manage customer expectations.
Maintain a balance between continuous review and micromanagement
It is a fact that remote teams operate better if they have freedom and confidence, which usually creates a good working environment between them, in addition to the scope of the objectives in the medium term.
The balance between the review and the micromanagement must be given to the extent that it is known what is being done at the right time, but without limiting the decision-making power, so that they cannot write a line of code without first requesting Excuse me.
Communicating the delivery deadlines to the team clearly and keeping up with the progress will allow the team to develop new dynamics to meet them, giving space for a more fluid work pace, increasing overall productivity.
A great strategy that has worked for us is to use the daily meetings and sprint planning as an opportunity to review the work in progress. Learn more about our working methodologies in our article: Which Agile Methodology is the best for my project?
Communication, openness and transparency are the key to achieving the objectives at each stage:
In many cases, the internal technology teams of companies tend to see the threat of outsourcing of Software Development, so it is very important to determine with them the scope that the remote equipment will have, as well as the clear assignment of tasks , which will create close and trustworthy ties.
To achieve this, it is recommended that the CTO / CIO of the company have constant meetings with the partner to hire, so that both can establish clear lines of work, where you define what tasks will depend on the internal team and which will depend on the external team.
Transparency, monitoring and good communication, three key elements that will allow every remote project to be successful. Accompanying them with high quality standards and careful monitoring of good Software Development practices, we ensure that our clients have total satisfaction and fulfillment of their business objectives, benefiting the end customer.
If you have any questions or want to know our service processes better, we invite you to contact us to know more about our services.
In recent years, Agile Methodologies have evolved for the diverse needs of technological projects, maintaining the search for increasing the productivity and efficiency in their planning, development and execution.
There are, at least, 5 methodologies that have achieved greater acceptance by technology and Software Development companies, either because a methodology adapts better to the kind of service that business provides or because certain industries are more acquainted with those.
Here are, in sum, the most recognized Agile Methodologies:
One of the most used agile methods, known for its framework based on process iteration, relying on self-management teams. This method divides work into objects or deliverables, which are estimated and prioritized according to effort. It can optimize the strategic plan and priorities according to the needs of each client.
Scrum promotes order in small self-management and interdisciplinary teams, distributing work time in fixed iterations that create deliverables to their goal.
- Provides greater ease when ordering large and complicated projects by dividing them into smaller parts.
- Allows greater control and management on how the project is being carried out.
- The time and use of resources are greatly optimized.
- Presents difficulty in ordering the team for the first time.
- It may cost to some companies to get familiarized with.
- Specially trained personnel need to be included in this methodology, such as a Scrum Master.
Widely known for its “visual cards”, it is based on the creation of diagrams where the tasks in process, pending and completed within a work team are pointed out. It is ideal to understand what deliverables and activities make up a project, as well as to know what activities are repetitive, so they would be part of a process.
- Improves teamwork thanks to its focus on task planning.
- Provides great time coordination.
- Facilitates the allocation of resources depending on their skills.
- High investment in resources for its implementation.
- It is better suited to repetitive projects, such as maintenance of servers or applications.
Unlike the others, Agile Inception is oriented to the >u>definition or redefinition of the general objectives that every company should have.
It is backed by the “elevator pitch” method, which consists of small meetings with the team, members or partners, where the interventions do not exceed 5 minutes.
- The elevator pitch method helps to execute projects with greater agility, precision, saving time and practicality.
- Helps to clarify key aspects of the project, find the value proposition of the tasks in question and find the best strategy applied.
- It is not possible to summarize all the points to be discussed in brief meetings.
- It is possible that communication failures are generated since participants have little time to present their ideas.
It has been widely acquired by development companies to the point of being known as Lean Software Development. This focuses on the needs of the client based on the three C’s:
- Customer Cares: The importance of what we do for the client.
- Changes: the arranges to be made to achieve them.
- Correct: a constant improvement.
Its objective is to achieve the “perfection” of processes and tasks by eliminating everything that is redundant or that does not create true value, empowering employees and giving more visibility to the final needs of the client.
- It provides greater clarity in the processes and principles of the equipment, eliminating everything that does not add value to the work.
- It offers a fast and precise construction of the projects.
- Promotes teamwork, rescuing values of responsibility and assertive communication.
- It has a high dependence on the team and the cohesion that this has with each other, the discipline applied and the correct decision making.
- Very oiled processes are needed for it to work properly, so at first it would have to incur trial and error.
XP or Extreme Programming
It is based on a set of good practices in the development of software in very changing environments with specific requirements, as well as the rules and order focused on the continuous feedback of the client and the work team.
- It helps measure the scope of a project, as well as the resources to invest.
- Facilitates the understanding of how the effort is invested and encourages minimizing errors.
- Focuses on customer satisfaction and simplicity of processes.
- It is only indicated for short-range projects.
- Requires a rigid adjustment to the principles of work, since it is not easy to apply to the equipment at the beginning.
Technological advances and demanding market dynamics have driven the creation of new management methods for processes, as well as strategies and tools that optimize performance and achieve better results.
Customer satisfaction is the main basis of Agile Methodologies, looking for companies to have a more efficient relationship with their current and potential customers. As if that were not enough, they allow the reduction of time and costs.
Application Management put up in simple terms is managing the operation, maintenance, version, and upgrading of applications through its lifecycle. It includes techniques, best practices, and procedures used for the optimal functioning of an application.
Most of the businesses take Managed IT Services to avail the advantage of their expertise. Here the application is outsourced and supported by the third-party stakeholder. Under AMS, the IT services company will monitor and maintain your business application.
Benefits of Application Management
The businesses can gain maximum benefits by outsourcing IT Services. The owners will be able to leverage maximum potential out through our Dedicated Teams or Staff Augmentation services:
- Low Cost and Better Management: With IT Outsourcing Services, the fixed costs turn into variable cost with effective budgetary planning. The businesses will only pay for the services they will use. Moreover, you can also expect better management and experienced application management services.
- Constant Support and Monitoring: By taking third-party services, you do not have to worry about monitoring your application. The service providers will render continuous support to maintain and monitor your application round the clock. Now, you do not have to worry for your in-house members falling sick or go through any other stress.
- Access to the Top Talent: You’re instantly getting access to our top talents and specialists with knowledge in your industry. Even your company’s application gets straight access to the latest technology. The IT service providers can look after versatile applications without leaving any glitch. You can rest assured that your application management is in safer hands.
- Knowledge about Specific Tasks: The AMS providers possess knowledge about the specific technology or tasks. They have a distinct team to handle various processes. This way, you do not have to employ or train the in-house team on new technologies. With vast knowledge in hand, the outsourcing companies can provide one-of-its-kind services. Their teams keep themselves updated with the latest technologies or languages in the market.
- Focus on Consumer Market: The business owners who choose to outsource the Application Management Service gets more time to focus on their core business. They will not be swayed away with complex IT difficulties or decisions. The IT Managers can focus their limited time and attention towards their customer market. This way, you will be able to give maximum time to your target and potential market.
- Same time zone: under a nearshore model, companies enjoy the benefits of the services of professionals when it comes to one side, the times of the waiting margins that delays the duration of the implementation of a project, seriously affected the Time -to-market This is critical at the moment of having some urgency.
Most of the companies have started outsourcing application management service as they get optimally managed and innovative team of experts. The businesses no longer have to search for in-house experts for varied projects. Moreover, this service also reduces maintenance cost and increases your performance manifold.
Another benefit that companies are gaining by outsourcing this service is that it will reduce the IT downtime. This allows companies to focus on their core business and carry out the market expansion. With a trained and experienced team in hand, you can gain maximum benefit for your organization.