Creating an iPhone Application and Project Management

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Before you begin designing and creating the next greatest iPhone application, it’s critical to define exactly what you plan your application to do, so says the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines.  A great way to do this is to write a product definition statement.  It is a succinct affirmation of your application’s core purpose and its intended audience.  I believe Apple understands, in order to be successful, you have to have a plan.  Developers of iPhone applications are not necessarily project managers.  Perhaps Apple is giving them better odds of success, by encouraging them to write a project definition statement.  I once worked with a very knowledgeable developer, Kent Lynch, who spoke out during a managers meeting saying, “People don’t plan to fail; they just fail to plan”.  He could not have been more right.

A project mission statement is no different.  No project should be attempted without first capturing a mission statement.  Traditionally, mission statements contain:

  • Project Name
  • Description
  • Purpose
  • Primary stakeholders
  • Responsibilities towards these stakeholders
  • Products and services offered

If you can articulate a mission statement that satisfies these few bullets, you’re on you way to understanding what you need to do to have a successful project.

(Image by jaapoost on flickr)

Responsibility Assignment Matrix

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As a graphical depiction of a more detailed perspective of responsibilities, the responsibility assignment matrix should reflect assigned responsibility by functional role for key project deliverables.  An example of roles detailed below could include (1) Project Manager, (2) Project Sponsor, (3) Implementation Manager, (N) Team Lead

Project Deliverables Role 1 Role 2 Role 3 Role N
WBS – Project Charter E A C I
WBS – Project Schedule E A,C A I
WBS – Project Budget E A,C E I
WBS – Status Reports C C A E
E = responsible for execution (may be shared)
A = final approval for authority
C = must be consulted
I = must be informed

I use this matrix in a few of my project artifacts, to include the Lessons Learned.
You can download a free copy here

Contribute for the better good

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Scrum OverviewI just posted an update to the Agile Scrum definition on Wikipedia. It has been a while since I’ve made updates to this definition and others on the free online encyclopedia.  It’s actually quite cathartic to contribute to something like Wikipedia, for no other reason then to help others.  I’ve been asked a lot of questions recently about Agile Scrum and its applicability to my current project.  Though I’m happy that people value my opinion, I figured it was time I revisited Wikipedia and make sure the items I’ve edited in the past still pass muster.  Sure enough, without telling anyone that I am one of the contributors, I’ve received two  emails linking to the Wikipedia definitions with notes like “You should check this out”.   I hope by continuing to make contributions and updates to publicly available PM related topics, people will be exposed to my work if they know it or not.

Have a great day and feel free to leave a comment!


(Image by drewpreston on flickr)
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Innovate and Monetize


I thankfully found a developer to create three of my Apple iPhone/iPod Touch applications.  Is one going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread?  I don’t know.  When an idea comes to me, I quickly write it down.  I think my wife gets tired of hearing of my daily revelations and seeing post-it notes litter my desk.  Still, there is always potential to monetize an idea.  That can’t hurt.

It’s time I practice what I preach.  I’m the SME, sponsor, AND the project manager for this.  Do we have schedule, scope, and budget? Yes.  Do we have requirements, assumptions, and constraints? Yes.  No gold plating these applications.  Let’s get them to market and fulfill a need.  How much would you pay for a Derek Huether idea?

Publishing a book with a PMI blessing

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Yesterday, I contacted PMI to get a green light for a book I’ve been writing.  Because it’s referencing the PMP, I’m taking several steps to ensure I follow the rules.  My first step was to agree to abide by the PMI Intellectual Property Proper Use Guidelines.  My second (indirect) step was to request permission to link to their site.  You’d think they would want every PMP linking to their site.  Still, a link does not constitute an endorsement from them.  If anyone out there has already published materials with a PMI blessing, I would love to hear from you.

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From the desk of VP Enterprise Solutions

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I just received a recommendation from someone I’ve worked with in the past. I have to admit, it’s really nice to hear good things from time to time. I’m a strong believer that you should tell people when they are screwing up. I’m an even stronger believer that you should tell people when they are doing something right. Here is what he wrote about me.

“Derek is one of the most dynamic, creative, and detailed people I know! His “can do” perspective and dedication to mission success provides one with the confidence that Derek will do what he says he can in the time he says he will do it! Promises made, promises kept! He learns any and everything needed to make the mission successful. I have truly enjoyed working and collaborating with Derek on several opportunities and recommend him for any job or task. He makes good things happen!”

Rick Gonzalez, Vice-President Enterprise Solutions, Chenega Technology Services Corporation

Thanks Rick! It was a pleasure doing business with you.

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