It has been a while. A lot has changed, a lot stayed the same. And I can finally write about something I actually only have little idea about: Software Development. Next week I will officially begin an internship at a small IT company. I work at the same company since 2008, so nothing, new right? Well I started as a service desk employee, moved to marketing, back to the customer care and then in 2011 I was even Scrum Master for quite a big project. But this internship will be something new. I will actually write some code. Beware!
During the next fourteen weeks I will have my own project. From the very start where I will actually try to sell the project to the customer to the very end, where we will introduce the project to the company. Depending on the scope I will have a team or not. My personal goal will be, to learn as much as possible and as I have to write some kind of report for the University in the end as well I figured, why not publish that to the public anyway?
So if I’m disciplined enough I’ll post regularly updates on the project. Maybe twice a week, maybe twice a month. We’ll see. No pressure.
So what is it all about? The company does a lot of consulting. Some engineers might regret that but for most IT companies based in Switzerland this has become their main source of income and replaced a lot of the in house projects. When you sell consulting, you sell people. Or even more precise: You usually sell experience and know-how. And to proof that can deliver the requested skills, you need some kind of profile of your employees. Not much else than a regular CV, but a bit more tailored towards the consulting work and most importantly standardized.
The current solution at the company is *drum rolls* Microsoft Office Word. All employees have their personal profile as a word file stored at a centralized location where the sales people can grab them and include them in their offers. What worked well for about 20 people (the size of the company when I started 2008), is a nightmare for 70 people.
Redundancy of information, inconsistency of project descriptions, varying depth of technology and skill descriptions and last but not least formatting – it all takes ages to uniform those profiles so that they’re ready to be sent out to potential customers. Believe me – I’ve done it as the marketing guy mentioned above. It’s sisyphean.
That’s where my project should step in and provide a better solution. Manage all the employees, their work experience, the projects they were involved, the trainings they visited and the technologies they know. So that you could search for them (“For this offer I need three guys with at least 2 years of experience in portal development”) and print out uniform profiles in the end. Sounds reasonable easy, right? Sure it is, but not for somebody that has never done anything like that and has to start from nothing.
Course of actions
So what do I have to do? First I have to find all the requirements from all the stakeholders at the company. I have to define goals and risks for any processes involved. In a second step I have to estimate the effort for a specific set of requirements. I also have to make decisions which technologies I’m going to use. I have to sell the project to the executive board which is essentially my customer.
Finally, if that hurdle has been taken, I can develop that thing. Agile of course and with the technologies that are supported by my company as they’ll do the maintenance in the end. After this major part I can introduce the new tool to the company, deliver documentation, trainings and all that stuff.
I’m looking forward to some busy weeks indeed I guess.