Hokie Swap is a classifieds application for selling and requesting surplus property. As project manager, I led the project team using an agile project management methodology. Frequent communication with the cross-functional team enabled me to evolve the software as their needs became clearer over time. On the technical side, my responsibilities included the design, architecture, development, and deployment of the application.
Given the uncertainty of requirements for this project, the agile methodology fit nicely. Project stakeholders sought to replace the disorganization and lacking visuals associated with email lists, but their initial requirement was merely that it not be a Craigslist clone. With the desire for a visually compelling application being a point of emphasis, mocking up the interface was my first order of business.
During this initial iteration, I decided to create an interactive prototype rather than composing views in Photoshop or Illustrator. Having used the Foundation framework in the past, I knew I could quickly prototype a mobile-optimized front-end. Adjusting the interface to available screen real estate was an especially important requirement, as we expected users would upload images of posts from mobile devices. With a Pinterest-inspired, masonry layout, I demonstrated the application at our next project meeting, encouraging the project team to access the test server from their phones and tablets.
The first phase was a hit. Stakeholders saw palpable progress and we were able to further define requirements for displaying and searching for posts. Uncovering a well-defined set of specifications gave me confidence from an implementation standpoint as I moved onto designing an API.
One issue I had not anticipated was sentiment that the project was nearly complete! As the team actively flicked through the prototype, some did not account for the lacking validation, authentication and authorization, or API and persistence layers. Many team members were accustomed to the traditional project approach of previewing software only as it nears completion. Thankfully, after briefly revisiting our goals for this initial iteration, we were back on the same page.