Visit with the grand-client
I'm traveling again, but this time not for fun like the ODC. This is work. I'm traveling to represent one of SSG's clients to one of their clients. The "grand-client", if you will. SSG has asked that I don't blog company names, but you'd know them if I told you.
A tale of two cultures
The grand-client has a very comprehensive software development lifecycle. It grew out of their Y2K effort. The process is heavy, but it helps them to mitigate risk.
My client, on the other hand, has been trying to define their process. Traditionally, they use RUP, but have had issues in the past with generating useful documentation from this process. They've evaluated agile, but could not get it to work within their corporate culture. Most recently, they've described their process as "agile RUP". I'm sure that such a combination could be achieved, but this seems more like a compromise than an actual plan.
This is a large integration project. The grand-client has identified several partners that will work together to create a new product offering, my client being just one of them.
The grand-client is running this project by tracking each of the partners with their own methodology. Instead of expecting deliverables from each provider at certain milestones, they are integrating the project plans.
Project management tooling
The project management tools couldn't be more different. The grand-client uses a centralized task management system. Engineers enter time against these tasks, and the tool compares those against the plan to automatically update the schedule.
On the other hand, my client manages everything with Microsoft Project. Engineers enter time against milestones, not tasks. The project is manually updated at status meetings, not automatically based on the time entry system.
The goal from the grand-client's point of view is to create a synergy of processes. They want to map all of the artifacts in the client's process into their own process. With that mapping, they can measure all partner's progress with their own tool, and identify each one's impact on other partner's schedules.
This might be a brilliant way of managing a project of this scale. Or it might be a train-wreck in progress. Either way, I expect to learn quite a bit from this engagement.