How the hell can you ‘Project Manage’ a vague idea into a product? How do you start?… Well here is the thought process we (I got some help from the guys in the office cos I was blundering round like a blind dog) went through to turn the vagueness into something more solid, albeit still an idea:
- We (Connected) decided we wanted something. We have been calling it BIG.Toe for a long time and everyone has a sense of what it is. A window into VITES, a face to VITES.
- We looked at who we could sell it to – in fact – who we needed to sell it to.
- We came to the conclusion of marketers.
- We looked at who marketers were – ‘busy, non-tech etc…’
- We looked at what general features marketers want (note we haven’t got a product yet).
- We married what Big.TOE could provide to what marketers want (idea of product)
- We populated a list of features that agreed on this marriage (a product)
- We then broadly spec’d the product, which for us was mapping an interface, (note the spec was very broad indeed.)
Phew! Thanks guys we have an idea for a product! 🙂
I had a milestone to present a scope accompanied by a spec to the boss which was coming up so that was the next stage. So I took the broad spec we drew up in the thinking-meeting the day before and completely annihilated it. I owned it. I questioned every aspect of it, attempting to keep the goals of Big.TOE in mind and I did a bloody good job. I managed to reduce a multi-page spec with drill down navigation down to three (yes 3) pages, with only 4 form fields, all in the aim of applying KISS. Our clients don’t want Big.TOE to be a complicated thing to use.
As it turned out I had missed a couple of elements… but that is fine. I talked about Big.TOE to my colleagues and these holes were quickly filled in. Essentially the spec had been through a transformation and had become more refined… It was good fun that. Whapap!
Received some advice. “Be careful with time estimations“. You’re better off saying I don’t know, give me a day (or half a day) to make an estimate then blurting one out. People will hold you to an estimate; not to the minute, but if you’re 500% off – see linked article below – then you can end up in a world of pain.
- Software development: dealing with awful estimates (programmers.stackexchange.com)