Subject to ChangeI've just finished this book Subject to Change, written by Adaptive Path, edited by O'Reilly.

On these pages, this book try to answer to one question: "How could we manage long projects when needs and requirements are changing between the beginning and the end of the project?"
With their experience in the website design, Adaptive Path explain us how they work, but even more interesting, which errors they did and what they did to not reproduce them.

The first chapters speaks about products and/or services to be designed. Quick reminder and extension of the Purple Cow, it's explained that time when designers created without take care of the user is past. The user -and his experience- should be now the center of the development process to result in a product which will please -and so which will be bought.
We learn how to create user cases more convivial, by developing the empathy for the final user. Adaptive path discovered actually that this empathy, which must be present in the whole team, the project will most of time fo to the trash or won't be as good as expected.

Then along the reading we're starting to draw the Adaptive Path's work methodology. They set up an work organization allowing us to increase the team spirit and the design ideas for the final result. Nobody is excluded from the project meeting: developer, graphic designer, project manager, and the client speaks all together about the solution to realize a successful final product. The method isn't infallible. Errors are actually part of the process, used to correct as soon as possible the project thanks to the user tests.

Finally the last chapter speaks about the Agile method which correspond to the description above. At the first reading it looks like funnier, and more pleasant than the heavy development method. But when a project manager will read this, he won't like it simply because, as the name said, this method make it a matter of principle of the team should be flexible to answer to the expectation when they arrive or when they are discovered. This is what its strength, and also its weakness.
How a project manager will know how long will take a project before knowing what will do his team? To do that, Adaptive Path explain his own experience for doing this transition smoothly. Some key points that we could remember are: encourage innovation, improve feedback and user support, and make development more iterative.

If you're a project manager or development manager in a company, no matter what is its size, I strongly recommend this book. It won't probably be possible for you to implement the idea immediately. However it'll provide you new ways to work and fresh ideas.

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