In my capacity as Lead Technologist/Chief Architect for the Online Library Environment at the University of Virginia Library (ed. note: I held this position from Jan – Dec 2011), I manage a group of people who are responsible for many of the public-facing web services that the Library provides plus the technologies that sit behind those interfaces. Almost every project we take on is driven by stakeholders outside of our department (e.g. non-developers, or people not versed in technical matters) who have their own highly valued areas of expertise.
This is a relatively new department; it wasn’t fully staffed until I got here in January. As you can imagine, any processes we’ve recently started to implement (e.g. having processes for starting/working through projects) require a lot of training and reiteration of norms and ideals. Within the Library we have several interest groups that meet regularly to talk about current and future projects, possibilities, questions, and so on; one of those groups is the User Experience (UX) interest group. People from all departments and at all levels (from the University Librarian on down the line) come to these meetings to hear presentations and ask questions.
Today I took the opportunity to talk briefly about how we in OLE work with the specific UX folks (Joe Gilbert and Erin Mayhood, if we’re naming names, which I am) in the service of our stakeholders and their projects. Specifically, I discussed what we expect stakeholders (project instigators!) to do, and what we do with that information, how we communicate throughout a project, and so on. These slides are pretty generic (and my presentation was only 15 minutes) but it was another opportunity to get in people’s minds how we as developers don’t (or shouldn’t) just come up with stuff on our own and decide willy-nilly to do something. There’s actually a process!
(The titles of the slides are: functional requirements, example functional requirement, writing use cases (or epics), writing stories, an actual example, writing code, never stop communicating, releasing)
Here are the slides themselves (view at slideshare.net if they do not appear below):