Too busy to specify
We received a inquiry to augment a startup`s team. They were about to miss the deadline and fail to get funding.We jumped right in with a drastically shortened discovery phase and the team we staffed literally started burning scope from the first day. But the developers were surprised by an interesting responsibility - they had to sketch and send for approval UI wireframes before starting coding. This already was an indicator so our experts analyzed the situation.
A quick assessment revealed there hardly were any requirements. The user stories did not have a form of such, there were no acceptance criteria. The vaguely outlined functionalities were huge, but the description was tiny. We also noticed there was no single story completed since the very beginning of the project. The stories were dragged from sprint to sprint and there was nothing accepted.
After we interviewed the client`s leadership and figured out their main issue - there was no Product Owner and nobody from the leadership had the time to define requirements due to the fact they were half-time busy with other projects. They expected the developers to present them an early indication of the final result and be in touch with them throughout the development process.
There was another issue as well - nobody had realized and specified the non-functional requirements. The developed functionality never was accepted due to usability, performance and testability issues. With a complete lack of cross-cutting infrastructure in the application, the same problem was solved by each developer in a different ways, which was harming the consistency and was piling similar, but no 100% repeated logic. The application had gone non-maintainable.
After sharing our findings, the best practices and a quick plan for improvement with the client, we substituted 3/4 of the dev augmentation team we had deployed with experts - requirement managers, business analysts, an architect and a designer. We interviewed the client`s development team too and figured out the gaps in the process from their point of view. Knowing these and having our earlier analysis, together with the client we set better processes up, that were mainly built around the time-shortage of the leadership on the startup.
Soon we had a short Architecture vision put together, all the Requirements and the business insights, a design style-guide and all important UIs sketched and fed into a click dummy. The client`s dev-team with a tiny augmentation burned the whole scope in a timeframe two times shorter than the originally projected. The whole cost was dramatically decreased.
"Our product is completed with a smaller investment and higher quality", that`s what the client said. We can add - we also managed to do a full regression and stabilization and still complete one week before the deadline.
The client received their funding and together we work on a second release.