Running a Project with Less Pain and More Awesome


Mac Newbold - UPHPU - April 21, 2016

Setting Expectations

  • I've been involved in a lot of projects
    • Widely varying degrees of pain and success
  • Some situations/behaviors correlate highly with pain
  • Others correlate highly with awesome
  • These are my thoughts/ramblings on what I want to try to do on my next project
  • YMMV

Road Map

  • Getting Started
  • Planning
  • UX / Design
  • Building
  • Testing
  • Launching

Getting Started

Define the Problem

Many projects are doomed from the start, because they don't understand the problem they're trying to solve.

Pain Point: 

Work on  Solutions Too Soon

Identify the Right Group of Stakeholders

Projects that don't get the right people in the room often die a slow and very painful death, finding out at the end that they messed up at the beginning.

Who is part of the team?

  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • "Stakeholders"
  • Product Owner (PO)
  • Project Manager / Product Manager (PM)
  • Architects
  • Devs
  • QA
  • It's usually easier to be overly broad at this point than try to make up for it later...

Communicate We Must


Take the Time to Plan Right!

Pain Point: Starting Dev  Before Planning is Done

"Iterative Deepening"

  1. Problem 

  2. Requirements

  3. Documentation

  4. Wireframes

  5. Graphic Design

  6. Services APIs

Dream Big

Then Identify MVP/Phase 1

Pain Point: Unrealistic Timeline


UX / Design

Minimal Inputs

Think about the bare minimum you can ask your users to do. There are often some elegant shortcuts.

Minimal Inputs,

Valuable Outputs

  • Don't ask much of them
  • Give them a lot of value in return
  • Don't give them clutter
  • Weigh value added vs. complexity

Pain Point: Scope Creep


Avoid Distractions

Stay on Target

Pain Point: Plan Was Wrong


Unit Testing

Feature Testing

Integration Testing

User Acceptance (UAT)

Pain Point: Rework & Fixing


Take it slow...

  • "Dog Food"
  • Alpha Release
  • Beta Release
  • Gradual Rollout

Pain Point: Production Issues



  • Return on your planning investment: >= 10x
  • Communication and Teamwork: Critical
  • Getting the plan right: Over 9000
  • Sticking to the Plan: Harder than it looks
  • Failure in Testing/Launch can ruin you


Thanks for coming!

Feedback welcome:



By Mac Newbold


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