Results of an Agile Approach - Agile Testing

The replacement TRC-Heritage product has been successfully implemented and is now in use with a number of our existing customers;it has also been sold to several new customers.

Bottom line, the migration has resulted in a replacement product that has been updated to match current market needs, is in service with existing and new customers, and has earned(and continues to earn)significant revenue for our company.

In terms of the overall project results:

  • The product matches the customer requirements well. The new product requirements were largely obtained through our U.S. marketing manager and have enabled TRC to make sales of the product to new customers, as well as providing an upgrade to our existing customer base. The team(including the nontechnical U.S. marketing manager) felt that the use case approach had been a success, allowing requirements to be captured, reviewed, and easily understood by all the stakeholders.
  • Overall product quality has been good. The early and frequent testing that our iterative approach supported has meant that a great many defects were detected and corrected way before release of the product. Since release, there have been no critical defects reported, and(at the time of writing this case study) two serious defects(both involving database access– which were quickly fixed)and just eight cosmetic issues(which have been fixed in the next release).
  • Overall project costs have been reduced. A brief analysis of our project metrics shows that the overall cost of the project was 30% lower than running an equivalent co-located U.K.-based agile project. Although this information must be balanced by the fact that the project overran by 20% in terms of its duration, this has nevertheless been a very well-received result from the perspective of our senior management.
  • Reporting and estimating issues– From a project management perspective, there were definite issues with reporting and estimating. Because of time zone differences, the difficulty with convening ad hoc offshored meetings, lack of formal cross-geo reporting tools, and the challenge of not having face-to-face communications when the weekly teleconferences were held, it was very difficult to have a clear picture of progress. Our agile approach highlighted these issues much more acutely than a traditional project approach would have done.
  • Two-week overrun– Over the projected ten-week project duration, we overran by two weeks. This 20% slippage was largely attributed to the overhead associated with “round-trip communications” (i.e., where a request from the U.K. team, email or voicemail, was made outside of the Indian working day, picked up by the Indian team the next day, worked on, and then reported back to the U.K. team the next day). As the project proceeded, we did try to find solutions to this phenomenon, which I cover in the Lessons Learned section.

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