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How the Franklin County Data Center Used Scrum to Deliver a New Website to the Board of Elections on Time, and They Were Satisfied!

Posted by Tasha Hyler, Project Coordinator

My first introduction to Scrum/Agile was by an overly excited man with Post-its stuck to his shirt. Needless to say, I wasn't buying it. My next experience was at the Agile Boot Camp Training, and that was where I became the crazy, excited lady that now has an unhealthy relationship with Post-its. The class just made sense. The class was a mix of developers, project managers, and customers all talking about their issues with how projects are ran and hoping this new thing called "Agile" was going to save us all. We have all experienced a bad project: the tasks that are never "done done," incomplete requirements, miscommunications, late delivery, and, when we finally think we got it, it is not what the customer wanted at all. The Scrum/Agile philosophy helps the customer maintain informed ownership of their project, fosters true team work, and allows the project manager to recognize issues earlier.

The team decided that with an impending election and the amount of public exposure the Board of Elections gets, a new website built using Scrum would be a perfect pilot project. Our first few meetings were rough and awkward, and success did not seem promising. Our Agile Coach, like my mother, promised that there would be days like this. Our first sprint was a success, with the caveat that we didn't pick up enough work. This was followed by our second sprint, where we took on too much work and failed our demo with our customer. By Sprints three, four, and five, the team was running good. Our daily stand-ups were becoming beneficial work sessions instead of forced conversation. The team created a centralized location to hold stand-up meetings, display our project vision, provide a definition for done, and house a work board with tasks outlined on color coded Post-its; we called it "Time Square." Productive communication amongst the whole team was finally happening and heading off problems before the customer had seen the product. Yes, this Agile thing is working!

By the end of the project, we ended up with a brand new team that had a fresh perspective on how to deliver projects for Franklin County. Our project was delivered on time, and our customer was happy to say the least. Look out: this is definitely a new era for project delivery from the Data Center. Our teams have fun and care about delivering a high quality product to our customers. Agile is one more tool to get the job done.