One word: Incredible! The Background: I’ve got the privilege to work on a Greenfield project which involves:
  • Collecting and Analysing Requirements
  • Web Application Designing (not Graphic/Web Designing)
  • Implementing
  • Testing
  • Deploying and Going live
As in my previous projects, it is the first task that takes a lot of time and effort. In my previous projects, I’ve never overlooked the Use Case Analysis and has thus resulted in completing the projects on time and to the stakeholder’s satisfaction. I have, in the past, effectively communicated my understanding of “"WHAT” needs to be done in the project by providing a PowerPoint presentation. In one case, I earned both the confidence and the trust of my Project Manager. Such is the importance of effectively communicating what I have understood to the stakeholder. While, PowerPoint is sufficient for small projects, with complicated ones, I’ve often found something missing in my arsenal. I intended to learn sketching on paper as a profession, but never found the time to. But, now there is a prototyping/sketching tool available in the set of software products that I own. Thanks to my attendance at ReMix UK 2008 where I got a 1 year subscription to Microsoft Expression Suite and related software. A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft Expression 3 was released and in there was the new “Blend 3 + SketchFlow”. Never realised how influential Bill Buxton, from whom I bought a signed copy of his “Sketching User Experiences” book, would be. The default font used in the SketchFlow is named “Buxton Sketch”! I have realised that despite being a non-designer, there is nothing stopping me from sketching the product design well ahead even before coding. That way, as proved in my past experiences, I can focus on “How to do” armed with a list of “What to do”. I’ve started learning SketchFlow using an excellent sample chapter from the book “Dynamic Prototyping”. The language used by the author in this book is simply great. The book does not feed the reader with all detailed steps. It invites the reader to observe and try to implement the features as shown in the figures in the book. This, to me is the first of such experiences. That way, the reading does not get boring and keeps the reader on toes. I can’t wait for the book to be released. The most impressive of this sample chapter is that it covers almost many basic things that as a developer I would need to get started with SketchFlow. Here is a gist:
  1. Understanding Blend 3 workspace for SketchFlow
  2. Working with SketchFlow Map
  3. Importing freehand drawings and creating own content
  4. Sharing Sketches and getting Feedback (this one rocks!)
  5. Animation
  6. Navigation
  7. States
  8. Sampling Data
  9. Components
  10. Annotations
  11. Creating Documentation of the SketchFlow
After having completed this sample chapter, I am confident of now creating sketches to show to my new project’s stakeholder. Hopefully, I won’t meet him because the SketchFlow Player (which is essentially a Silverlight application) enables all possible basic scenarios to obtain feedback from the stakeholder while working remotely. Once I publish my sketchflow in a secure location online for my stakeholder to view, then begins the impressive process of refining requirements and use cases. The step after that would be to create User Stories for the minimal Scrum based project management tool Scrumy. Then with the great online repository of Unfuddle, I should be unfuddling in no time at all to implement the project. Expecting an exciting August month.