Rewrite project - requirements SWAT team

· June 7, 2010

In my current project we have had a problem. The project is a “rewrite” project that shall “convert” a VB6 application into a VB.NET version of it. I put those words in quotes for a reason; here-in lies much of our problem in my mind. From the business-side of the project this has been viewed as technical problem and project. It’s a 1:1 conversion (the word “re-compile” has been used at more than one occasion). We all know that this is not the case. And even if it was that simple and you actually could do a 1:1 conversion it’s a waste of time. But that’s another story. In any case, we have had problem to get the business to engage in our project. (When I say business here it refers to people with the knowledge and power to decide on what the system should do). And that’s not the only project I’ve been in where this has happened. The pure thought of being a part of a IT-project seems to be daunting for a lot of business people. “We don’t have that amount of time on our hands”, “I’m busy everyday, where should I squeeze it in?”. This raises the question if the project really is important for them at all… but on that question they usually answers “YES!”. So let’s get by that. And when agile methods is introduced it’s even more scary; “Dear business people, we would like to have you with us in our team. All the time, every day”. “Yikes!”


We’re have tried to solve this by striking a deal with the business; could you have someone (with mandate to decide) in this room, between 14-15 each day? The deal is that if we have question we’ll met them there, if there is no questions they can go back to other duties after 10 minutes.


And that was much easier to get them to agree on.

We called the construct a “requirements swat team” and it seemed to be much easier accept. Maybe it’s the coolness factor. “I’m part of the SWAT team for project X”. We’ll have to get some outfits to go with the role. My guess is that they soon will be more and more engaged in the project. I hope to soon have participants on a sprint planning for example.

This approach of course works with any kind of bottleneck resource. We will try it with other resources that is high in demand and hope that it works fine there too. This is a good trick that worked really well at this customer. I will use it again when needed ;)

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