In this article I will talk about the "IT Protocol", but beware - it's not a protocol any developer would think of, such as HTTP, TCP or SMTP... No, I mean the digital document flow management, registration and archiving.
In the last two years and a half, we worked on a challenging project for an Italian Company Building IT Solutions for Professionals. The project wasn't big it was huge! The whole team was made of about 27 people - divided in sub-teams, and each sub-team was assigned to a product module.
The most challenging thing? A strict deadline, very important for the customer: the end of April.
When I was assigned as Product Owner to this project (only for the IT Protocol module) things were very hard. Out of all modules, the Protocol one was the only one having the backlog still empty. So... First of all I had to roll my sleeves up, get outside my comfort zone and study the domain. I started reading books like "Il protocollo informatico per la pubblica amministrazione" or similar. articles, laws, AgID guidelines... I made charts, drawings, sketches for to understand the flow.
Then - after having gained some domain knowledge - I was able to speak the language of the Customer and started to write "product specifications". Yes, for this project I had to write formal specifications and requirements, rather than simple and agile user stories. And these requirements had to be formally approved by the customer before being able to start working on them, and every change to them had to be motivated, traced and approved once again! rather than "user stories" and that's what I did. I wrote how I expected things to work, look like, behave. And then asked the customer to approve them.
But what happened during the way? How were we supposed to deal with a strict deadline? Well... Using the most valuable tool a Product Owner has: prioritization!
First of all, we had to understand what requirements were legal - yes we had to comply with Italian laws - and so we focused on developing all features concerning legal requirements. And then we split the specifications in smaller requirements, some of them needed to be delivered before the deadline, while some other could be delivered in the next release.
And thanks to this incremental (I would also say "start-up like") approach, we were able to deliver all main and legally required feature before the deadline.
For the next release, we will build the missing features and make some adjustments... But for now, one more point scored thanks to our Agile approach!