Foundation Portal is a rich web application for creating, managing, and reporting fund requests. In creating Foundation Portal, I led the project team throughout the planning, execution, testing, and maintenance phases of the project. My responsibilities also included the design, architecture, development, and deployment of the application.
One of the more difficult aspects of this project was managing changing requirements. Initially, fund authorization was set at a department level; within a department, I treated each user equally. Later in the project, the client desired the ability to restrict editing for certain users depending on the stage of the fund request (draft versus final). This new requirement introduced the need for different classes of users.
At the time the new requirement was added, I had already developed the majority of the application and the client had began examining it for acceptance. With the system open date looming, the client also identified the need to track comments on individual records between administrators. Needless to say, I was in need of a compromise to meet these new demands and avoid disappointing the project stakeholders.
Analyzing the structure of the application against my new requirements, I realized I didn’t have enough time to implement the new authorization scheme in advance of the the open date. Thankfully, I knew from interviews with stakeholders that administrative users would not be accessing the application for an extended period following the launch. Since the new requirements did not affect the data model of funds themselves, I was able to deploy the application on time while establishing a new timeline for implementing the modified authorization scheme.
As a result of managing this project, I experienced first-hand the importance of getting prototypes in front of end-users as soon as possible. Despite extensive interviewing and process documentation, some requirements are simply not apparent until the process is simulated within the application. While the traditional project management methodology has its merits, I would have employed an agile approach in hindsight.