METHODOLOGY

Pulsar Consulting has been created in 1998 and ever since, we have developed and updated our own project management methodology by integrating the practical experience of our consultants and by simplifying and integrating several methodologies and tools.

In order to successfully run the project, apply our values and guarantee that all the project goals are met, a strict implementation of project management procedures is of crucial importance. This is why, depending on contract type, we combine the classic waterfall approach with an agile-like method per module. It allows us to be highly flexible in terms of parallelizing the work on several modules of the application.

We have developed a work methodology ensuring an efficient approach of every waterfall step of every module

 

  1. Business Analysis : Customer’s need identified

  2. Functional Analysis : Planning Process

  3. Technical Analysis : Risks Management

  4. Development : Team Working

  5. Unit testing : Quality check

  6. Integration : Maintenance

Waterfall Approach
Team Work

Coding Standard

The programmers all write code in the same way. This allows them to work in pairs and to share ownership of the code.

Metaphor

 

All members on an XP team use common names and descriptions to guide development and communicate on common terms.

Collective issues solving

When reporting a bug, the tester must provide a whole set of information to the development team so that they can easily locate, reproduce and fix the bug. From this point, the follow-up of the problem is done through several statuses, allowing the different groups involved to manage the problem from the apparition till the final resolution.

 

Continuous integration

 

The XP team integrates and builds the software system multiple times per day to keep all the programmers at the same stage of the development process at once.

 

Simple design

 

The software should include only the code that is necessary to achieve the desired results communicated by the customer at each stage in the process, except standard functionalities that would impact the whole project.

 

Collective ownership

 

Every line of code belongs to every programmer working on the project, so there are no issues of proprietary authorship to slow the project down. Code is changed when it needs to be changed without delay. We rotate ours programmers on the software modules to ensure an efficient knowledge sharing.

 

Testing

 

Testing is done consistently throughout the process. Programmers and/or testers design the tests before & during the software development. The customer also provides acceptance tests at each stage to ensure the desired results are achieved.

PROJECT CULTURE

We integrated classical project management methodologies, that we complemented with principles and models centered on the relational aspects in the project team. Indeed, projects are implemented by people, and their relationships are critical to project success

For instance the model of seniority is about skills gain, showing that people with the team culture based on collaboration, learning, and result-orientation will evolve faster, and will become more effcient, than others who may have been more skilled but have reached their own ‘incompetence ceiling’

 

A good project culture is about communication, collaboration, learning, and teamwork, in the service of results achievement

Methodology Graph

The model of seniority is also about evolution from Junior to Senior. Three stages of maturity may be defined, each with its characteristics, each useful to the team work if rightly used

Evolution at Work Graph

An important step towards efficient communication is to know the mind can operate in ‘overview’ mode, or in in-depth mode, but not both in the same time. Typically, a project manager will work at the overview level while developers will go into details. Communicating efficiently means adapting its own discourse to the other’s operating mode, to avoid misunderstandings

Business Collaboration Graph

Stress Level

Level 1 - positive

 

Cool, no closed deadlines, time to do other ‘stuff’

 

Level 2 - positive

 

Deadlines in ‘sight’, time counted, positive stress, management of priorities, result-oriented

 

Level 3 - negative

 

Late on planning, overtime, negative stress, no time for communication or for others, “umbrella”/defensive mode

Prioritization

Tasks prioritization is highly important to be performant and produce results. The right prioritization will help organizing the work, doing first what’s urgent and important. But duration may also be considered for prioritization, when a list of short tasks may be done before a more important but longer one

Prioritization graph

Proactivity Facts

  • We often cannot change much to what happens to us, but we can change how we react to it.

  • Complaining/criticizing might become a problem while proposing solutions can become a solution.

  • We are not defined by what happens to us, but we build ourselves through our choices to react to it. 

  • We have the freedom to choose our actions, but we must accept their consequences too.

  • There is no failure, only feed-back

  • Accepting we are today the sum of our choices in the past (and not what happened to us), make us free to choose otherwise in the future and grow.

FIXED PRICE SPECIFIC FOLLOW-UP

 

Immediately after contract award, an initial project kick on meeting must be held with the customers to effectively start the project. The following points are needed to complete project initiation :

 

  1. Making sure all project deliverables are identified and well understood

  2. Reviewing and refining with the customer the project tasks and the planning provided in the proposal.

  3. Organizing and planning of project meetings : management meeting (project coordination and review), functional meetings (business requirements analysis, users interviews, ).

Internal team leading, project planning, coordination and control is a permanent activity, to be carried out during the whole project duration. Project progress reports need to be prepared and issued in order to document and communicate with customer (and also internally towards Pulsar management) about project progress and project problems

Each project must be set up in terms of delegation (hierarchy) and collaboration (team work).

The correct dispatching of tasks according to what must be delegate and what must done in collaboration is a critical factor for the project success.

Delegation & Collaboration Graph

The appropriate level of delegation must be defined for each project, taking into account the company structure and the team organization, but also depending on the chosen operating mode. The collaborative tasks must be chosen according to people’s skills.

Delegation Graph
Collaboration Graph

The Magic Triangle emphasis three of the main components of a project.

That are all the same logical levels, thus equivalent : budget, deadlines and functions.

They are overcome by the most important factors in a project, which is people and their skills.

Magic Triagle

The equivalence of the three is visible in situation like :

When the budget increases or decreases, the functions the same ;

When the budget increases (more people), the deadline can be shorten ;

When more functions are added, the budget increases and the deadlines can be extended with the same team, or can stay if the team is enlarged.

When one replace some members with more skilled ones, the tasks can be done quicker, the deadlines shortened, or the functions extended, and or the budget diminished.

QUALITY ASSURANCE

Pulsar commits on delivering application and services with high level of quality, for the fixed budget and within the agreed time schedule. In order to successfully run the project and guarantee that all project objectives are met, strict implementation of project management procedures is of crucial importance.

Project Risk Assessment & Management

The identified risks are reported in the Project Progress Report. There we give :

  • A description of the risk (functional, technical, internal, external)

  • A description of the likely impacts (risks could affect the cost, delivery time, application performances, etc ...)

  • A probability of risk occurrence (High, Medium, Low)

Pulsar ensures that at the start of each project, all the following points are checked and valid, in order to avoid early risks.

 

  • Precise and valid Project Schedule, milestones and deadlines

  • Stability and suitability of the chosen Architecture and technologies

  • Suitability and maturity of the Project Management, Analysis, development and testing methods used

  • Stability and suitability of the development tools

Testing

To ensure a good quality of the final application, Pulsar has pre-defined a set of test flows which are completed with specific test flows related to specific business logic.

 

  • Internal Integration Tests (IIT) : made by a test team independent from the development team

  • FAT (Factory Acceptance Tests) : Tests realized by the client’s own testing team on Pulsar’s site (on client request). This allows a quick fix of early stage bugs

  • SAT (Site Acceptance Tests) : The application is tested on the client’s site with its own environment

Maintenance services and support related interventions

 

  • The maintenance will include different services :

  • Maintaining the different IT environments

  • Installing new versions of the application, patches or pack, following the needs

  • Maintaining users in LDAP, including organizations

  • Management of their access rights

  • Monitoring the IT infrastructure and the servers’ availability and performances

  • Upgrading the technical characteristics of the infrastructure when needed

  • Ensuring quality of data set and consistency

  • Taking backups, journalising and archiving

  • Ensuring permanent availability of trained staff for second-line support and activities required by each request for intervention

  • Ensure the specific Tool training and knowledge transfer

MAINTENANCE SERVICES AND SUPPORT RELATED INTERVENTIONS

The maintenance will include different services :

  • Maintaining the different IT environments

  • Installing new versions of the application, patches or pack, following the needs

  • Maintaining users in LDAP, including organizations

  • Management of their access rights

  • Monitoring the IT infrastructure and the servers’ availability and performances

  • Upgrading the technical characteristics of the infrastructure when needed

  • Ensuring quality of data set and consistency

  • Taking backups, journalising and archiving

  • Ensuring permanent availability of trained staff for second-line support and activities required by each request for intervention

  • Ensure the specific Tool training and knowledge transfer

We also developed several tools to help our daily work such as iActivity and inFlow Tracer.

 

The inFlow Tracer tool can be used to trace all maintenance activities and manage the budget consumptions as shown in this screeshots below. This application is fully secured and appropriate accessrights must be assigned to each role before accessing the confidential information.

Inflow ICARD Screenshot