Continually Improving Cycle
This is the second post of a three-part series to kick off Getting in Gear. You can find the first post on how Tryon Solutions uses Agile and Scrum here. This post will dive deeper into how Tryon Solutions works to continually improve our business process validation tool, Cycle.
Even though many of the members of the development team come from a services and implementation background, not directly working with customers on a day-to-day basis can lead to a disconnect between users’ needs and the product being built. To prevent this gap, the development team actively works with the services team on an ongoing basis.
Not only are members of the services team using Cycle in their projects daily, but they also interface with customers who are using Cycle in supply chain application projects and implementations. The professional services team constantly provides real-world feedback from both the perspective of their personal use and, more importantly, from the perspective of our customers. Their input does not stop at the Feedback Forum either, as a services team members sits in on the development team’s sprint feedback and demo meetings every two weeks. By including a services team member in these meetings, the development team gains clarification on feedback items and the services team learns what was created over the previous sprint.
Our development team also employs user stories to ensure each feature request is centered around a customer use case. This gives the development team a clearer picture of how the enhancement should operate in a given situation. User stories outlines what a specific user needs to accomplish while using the product. At Tryon Solutions, we break that down into user roles within an organization. For each user role, we have personas that detail a fictional person’s goals, responsibilities, likes, dislikes, skills, influence, and challenges. By incorporating user stories and roles, the development team gains a better understanding of what a project manager, system analyst, or business analyst actually needs to get done and how the feature will fit into their workflow.
Using Cycle to Test Cycle
As a tool to streamline business processes, Cycle works wonders in the testing phase. This stands true not only for our customers and service team members, but also our own development team. To automate the assurance that new features pass acceptance criteria and old features do not break in the process, we have built up a library of Cycle scripts. Since Cycle makes it easy to test applications with a graphical user interface, the development team can quickly write tests that emulate what an actual user would do with the product. After a test is added to our suite, we can quickly tell if a new enhancement breaks older functionality.
In this week’s video we hear from software developer Cameren Dolecheck on how the services team works in conjunction with the development team, how user stories are put in action, and how we use Cycle to test itself.
For the final post in this series, we will discuss how feedback fuels our entire development process. See you next time on Getting in Gear!