Students – our investment in the future of tech

by | Jul 16, 2015

Yesterday was an exciting day for OptimalBI, it was the first day for our new students – more about them soon.
When we started this company Shane and I had a few things we really wanted to achieve, creating an environment we wanted to work in; working with a team who rock and are accountable for their own deliverables, goals and aspirations; innovating, disrupting and democratising our market; and giving back – our time for new entrepreneurs, code via OpenSource and (yes finally the purpose of this blog post) opportunities for students and study – both work experience and flexibility for staff to accommodate their studies alongside their work. Tim-Gray-Sun
Last year Tim joined working part-time during University semesters and fulltime in the breaks as a developer. Bronnie has just graduated her Diploma in Event Management (congratulations Bronnie) and Shaun is completing his PHD dissertation both while working almost fulltime as other examples.
Yesterday we were joined by 4 Weltec Bachelor of Information Technology 3rd year students who are joining us to complete the practical requirement of their degree. They will be with us for a massive 15 weeks and working in a blended team alongside Jack, Tim and Steven. Their course requirement and our Agile Productisation process will expose the team to a broad gambit of building a product beyond writing code. They will experience everything from Visioning to developing the Product Backlog and roadmap, employing all of their T-Skills in sprint planning and working on a shared sprint backlog of stories.
Our philosophy of Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is very much that MVP is built to learn. I anticipate this approach will sit uncomfortably alongside the very structured waterfall / systems development lifecycle (SDLC) approach the team have been learning about within their curriculum.  The other dimension of our philosophy towards MVP is while the project team can determine what is Minimal only the customer can determine what is Viable. The goal of MVP is not to scale, release a half baked product, or generate revenue – we hear the horror stories – it’s to understand the customer journey, the market, design minimum viable marketing materials, and develop the Minimal product as scoped, planned and sized by the team.
We kicked into Sprint 0 yesterday with visioning as the first meeting when they walked in the door – throwing them into the deep end I know – next will include workshop planning, commissioning of environments and tools, induction into OptimalBI Agile, OptimalBI’s productisation process, Bitbucket, Git, Jira, Hipchat, our standards and processes etc etc etc. I imagine this sprint will be a steep learning curve and quite confronting learning such a different, collaborative, outcome focused approach! bring it on!
I intend to write a few updates over the next 15 weeks on progress and insights as we learn how to embed a project team with a different set of success criteria and goals (they need to pass) to our own. Should be a great experience for all of us and I hope to encourage all of you to embrace students into your workplace over the course of the next 15 weeks too!
This is one of the best diagrams kicking around social media on MVP – good food for thought. Enjoy, Vic.



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