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Requirements to Start of Execution - a simple doc/process

 
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Hi,

I would like to hear from experienced project leads on a simple way of maintaining all communication from the time a new "task" (within a project) is assigned until when the developer will have to start the implementation. Here are the steps I see during this:

a. Task-assigner assigns a PCR (a request for task) to a developer, containing very brief info about what to do.

b Developer has to conceive a solution and propose it + raises questions for clarifications.

c. Task-assigner (or tech expert) reviews the solution. Repeat (b) until satisfactory.

d. Task-assigner (or a related tech expert) validates the solution proposed. Clarifies doubts.

e. Developer begins imlpementation.

f. Developer may have doubts again, goto b.2


NB: The task-assigner+experts and the developers are at geographically distant locations, with considerable timezone difference.

I need a documentation mechanism which lets me monitor b, c and d, which are steps that could repeat.

I don't use any formal methodology so far. I am starting to implement this as a thread of emails (might standardize on a template for it.) Any other suggestions on how I can possibly do this, and pointers to literature that deals with this will be welcome.

Thanks for your attention.
 
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On agile projects, we would simply work together to get the job done without the need for any documentation.

Are you not working together at the same location? Why do you need this level of documentation?

- Scott
 
Stuart Ash
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Thanks for replying Scott. As I mentioned, we are geo-disparate

Hence the need. Otherwise, of course, I would do away with such documentation.
 
Scott Ambler
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I would stick with the emails that you're using until they prove insufficient. Why over complicate things?

- Scott
 
Stuart Ash
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Originally posted by Scott Ambler:
I would stick with the emails that you're using until they prove insufficient. Why over complicate things?

- Scott



Sure, mostly what I thought. But just wanted to get more ideas from folks here...
 
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I don't have much experience with a distributed team, but here is what I'd keep in mind:

- nothing beats face-to-face conversation in effectiveness. Try to find a way that at least at some time of the day, the two can directly speak to each other - perhaps via VoIP. Even better, install webcams, so that they also can see each other.

- working together will improve significantly if you have met once. That could even be worth a short visit around the globe.

- Email is a convenient medium for written discussion, but not very convenient to archive and look up information. I would probably try a wiki instead (there are wikis with email-notification on changes to a page).

- the best *formal* specification for a task is an executable test case that will pass once the task is finished (or a set of test cases, of course).

Hope this spawns some ideas...
 
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Stuart,
I think a wiki is ideal for this, especially with distributed teams. We have a distributed team, but no shared network or easy way to share resources. So we are left with e-mailing back and forth attachments and conversations. One end maintains the "system of record", which is a bit awkward.

So what I'm saying is that if you have an easy way to share documents/thoughts, you are ahead of the game.
 
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