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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Creating mailing list, and place for keeping documents for specific projects

This sounds so simple, but these are measures that can make a lot of difference to the successful execution of a project. You start out with a project which is different from the regular stuff that you are doing, with some people working for this project either on a full time basis, or on a part time basis. For example, while working on your regular project, there is a need for a patch to be released for a previous version of the product which was there in the market, and for which some security issue was found and which needs to be fixed. The teams and organizations that I have worked with typically do not have specialized teams for such tasks, with these instead being done by the core team as well; however, additional resources could be provided as required. In fact, there might be the need for some additional resources for the testing effort, since this would require a high amount of testing in a short period of time.
Finally you are getting the team together which we will be working to execute this project, and the team is brought together for a kick-off meeting where the basic objective of the project, the responsibilities, etc are defined for all the team members and their leads.
But, given the short nature of such projects, there are some specific challenges that come into focus, especially when it comes to items such as communication, and reducing the stress that people come under. For such short projects, there is a high amount of work that is expected to be done within the required timeline, and the team managers need to do all they to ensure that the scope for minimization of activities that could cause stress is there.
The other major problem is communication. Quite often, some communication happens between two or more team members that is important for the project, but there are people who miss this kind of communication. In the normal run of things, people affected will eventually learn about this communication, and things will not go out of control. However, when you consider the short duration of such projects, some communication that gets missed by a couple of team members when it was relevant to them can cause problems in the execution of the project. Setting up project specific emailing lists and encouraging the team members to use such email lists works well in ensuring that everybody gets communication related to the project.
At the same time, there is the need to setup internal sites and document repositories that capture information about the project, including a specific set of requirements and design, as well documents that capture the evolution of these (including comments and queries and answers that came up during the actual discussion to finalize these documents). Having such facilities ensures that people can refer to them easily enough, and new members to the team can pick these up fairly quickly.

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