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Technical Project Management

projectWhite Oak Technology Group is all about designing and building solutions to solve real world problems and help you achieve your business needs.  Our technical project management process is the key to our successful deployments.  We plan, track and stabilize projects, remove roadblocks, and anticipate the needs of our clients to ensure that our engineers can solve the most difficult problems put before them.  Our experience has been that there are no “typical” projects, but our goal is to make every project seem routine.  We think creatively, work collaboratively, and do whatever it takes to get the job done.

White Oak Technology Group takes a consultative and collaborative attitude to website and application development and uses an Agile project methodology for development projects.  The Agile methodology treats analysis, design, coding and testing as continuous activities rather than steps to be completed once in sequential order.  Development is managed as an iterative process that builds software incrementally from the start of the project instead of trying to deliver all of the functionality in a single deployment phase. This allows for greater flexibility in handling new or changing requirements and generally allows these changes to surface earlier in the project.

Specifically, White Oak Technology Group uses the Disciplined Agile framework for development projects.  This framework is a hybrid approach to project management which combines the best practices of various Agile methods and extends them to focus on a complete solution, rather than simply computer software.

Our five step project approach consists of the following phases:

Consultation Phase – the purpose of this phase is to ensure we have a comprehensive understanding of your business needs and provide you with a preliminary cost and delivery schedule estimate.  This phase consists of the following steps, outcomes, and goals.

  • Business Requirements Definition – identify and fully define the business issues or opportunities that make up the scope of this engagement.  This includes how the system will improve the efficiency or profitability of your organization and how it will affect your position in the marketplace and the people within your organization.  We’ll also identify any constraints that must be considered for this project such as mandatory implementation schedules, technical platform, etc.
  • Identify Preliminary Solution – identify a viable solution for the problem and potential strategy for the project.  We’ll determine if a new system should be developed or if a solution already exists than can be modified or integrated into the existing environment.  We’ll also identify preliminary resource needs, work schedules, and cost estimates.
  • Feasibility Assessment – we help our clients determine if it is worth investing in the potential project by considering the cost/benefit analysis and potential return on investment, whether or not the project is practical from a technology perspective, and whether it can be integrated into your current operational workflow.

Inception Phase – the purpose of this phase is to conduct project planning and initiation, form the project team, and conduct initial requirements and architecture modeling.  This phase consists of the following steps, outcomes and goals.

  • Solution Vision – identify or confirm the definition of the solution, how it will support your company strategy, and who will use it.
  • Solution Roadmap – identify or confirm the high level view of the solution requirements, with a loose timeframe for when those requirements will be met.  Identifying requirements and then prioritizing and roughly estimating the effort for the requirements early is an important part of the solution roadmap.
  • Release Plan – identify or confirm a high-level timetable for the release of the working solution.  A project may have one or more releases and each release will generally consist of three to six development iterations.

Construction Phase – the purpose of this phase is to build or configure a consumable solution with sufficient functionality to meet the needs of the project stakeholders. There are multiple, time-boxed iterations throughout this phase and the solution takes on higher levels of completeness with each iteration.  This phase consists of the following steps, outcomes and goals.

  • Iteration Planning – occurs at the beginning of each iteration and allows the team to determine which requirements will be included in the upcoming iteration.
  • Coordination Meetings – during each iteration, the development team meets daily for generally no more than 15 minutes to discuss what was completed the day before, what work is planned for today, and what, if any, roadblocks exist.  Unit testing is performed continuously as features are developed.
  • Iteration Review – occurs at the end of every iteration and includes a demonstration of the working solution or features that were added during the iteration.
  • Iteration Retrospective – occurs at the end of every iteration and allows the team to briefly discuss the prior iteration and plans for improvement in both the process and solution during the next iteration.

Transition Phase – the purpose of this phase is to deploy the solution into production. This phase consists of the following steps, outcomes and goals.

  • Ensure the Solution is Complete – confirms the solution is ready to be deployed.  This goes beyond traditional software completion and testing.  The solution consists of software, hardware, business processes, organizational structure, and supporting documentation.  A complete solution must also be functional, easy to use, and desirable to its users.
  • Deploy Solution – validate that all components of the solution (software, hardware, processes, document, and structure and roles) are in place and meet the needs of the client.  This can often include a pilot deployment if deemed appropriate.

Hosting and Ongoing Support Phase – the purpose of this phase is to ensure that the solution continues to meet the needs of our clients on an ongoing basis.  This phase consists of the following steps, outcomes and goals.

  • Provide ongoing configuration services and end user training as needed.
  • Resolve technical and end user issues as needed.
  • Monitor environment and maintain software and security levels on application server.
  • Review and address application changes and requested by the client.

Contact White Oak Technology Group today and let our project management team guide you through your project towards a successful deployment.