Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 25

It appears I will be trapped in Philadelphia until Friday because of severe weather conditions! It is supposed to snow 10-15 inches tonight, so tonight we all went and stocked up on groceries and supplies.

Anyway, today I was got to sit in on a very engaging and enlightening meeting with a new client of 8th Light's. Micah, Paul, Craig, and I were introduced to this companies exec board, who then sat down with us and described their dilemma. They had a huge amount of data, but they had to use other companies to access it. Some of the data was collected through one of their websites, which was created and hosted by a company they hired, and as such they had to go through this company to get any of their data. There is also a huge data bank which they do not own, but have a license to use; yet they still had been going through a third party to gain access to this data.

The gist of it is that they wanted all this data under one roof. Our client knew the power of this knowledge, and they wanted to hold it and completely own it. So 8th Light's job would be to create a system that could store and interact with this data, after merging a huge amount of data in from several sources.

From an apprentice stand point, this was a gold mine to observe. I got to meet some very ambitious and driven people, who couldn't help but think big. I got to see the manner in which a Craftsman might respond to the requests and dreams of enthusiastic clients, and it was always in the affirmative. And I also got to see the outlining of a project from nothing to something very achievable.

First the client described their debacle, and then we would ask chains of questions to get a deeper understanding so that we could formulate possible solutions. Then the client explained what they were looking for, and what they imagined their system would do, and once again we asked questions to contemplate how we might implement this system. Next, Micah and Paul began outlining what it meant to use the Agile process, or to work in short iterations with rigorous customer interaction and frequent releases. We proceeded to define several Epics, or big chunks of functionality that the client thought were crucial. Once these Epic had been ordered, or at least once we knew which one had to be first, we then broke the Epic into Stories and estimated. Finally, we showed them the stories with the estimates, and gave them an idea of how soon we could get them the functionality they desired.

All in all a very educational experience. I now have an understanding of how to began a project from scratch, and how to lead the customer along your chain of thought. I am also remarkably exhausted from waking up extremely early and getting a mere hour of sleep. must collapse... arrrgggghhh... ZZzzzz

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