Software has been around for more than fifty years and there have been a lot of learnings generated in how to best manage the process of building software. Before the internet it was quite common for a large software project to be initiated, worked on and completed without more than a handful of people knowing what was going on. This lack of transparency led to many dissatisfied stakeholders and sometimes even the software being taken to the trash upon delivery. How do modern software practices avoid the pitfalls of black box software development?
Project management software
At reinteractive we use Pivotal Tracker to get all of the features translated into User Stories that are clear for the developer to implement. Once a User Story is completed by the developer the User Story must be accepted by the Product Owner. The Product Owner is the person who decides what the features should and should not do and has ultimate authority. If the Product Owner rejects the developers work Pivotal Tracker will notify the developer that the User Story is reopened and the developer will then attack the User Story again. It is very important for the User Stories to be accepted or rejected quickly because a developer will only hold a complete understanding of the code for a short amount of time.
It has been a revolution for software development to be hosted in the Cloud. Software in the Cloud means that no longer does IT hold the keys of who can see the product and at what stage. Having a staging server in the cloud means that anyone can see the progress of the software build as it is happening. This means stakeholders can see the shape and direction of the software well before the final release and offer feedback to shape the end product.
The main point is that getting feedback as early as possible is the biggest thing you can do to make sure that your software project is successful. Software management tools like Pivotal Tracker are fantastic at opening up the feature delivery process. Deploying your application early to the Cloud is a great way to get traction with stakeholders.