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GLOBAL – We’re using what’s called Agile design methodology to create the new Nokia Conversations app. What this means is that we don’t just write out a list of required specifications, hand it over to the developers and wait three months for them to get finished. Instead, we’re involved every step of the way. Find out where we’re up to after the jump.

Agile was developed because the old-fashioned way of doing things didn’t really work. Everyone ended-up hating each other. Clients (that’s us) changed their mind about what they wanted; or did a bad job of explaining what it was they wanted; or they didn’t have enough money to pay for everything that they specified.

So developers often ended-up delivering products that didn’t do what the client wanted (or wants now), ended-up putting in a load of extra work for nothing, and projects ran out of time and budget with no-one feeling too happy about the results.

So what Agile proposes (among other things) is that the work takes place in sprints of much shorter periods, typically two weeks. At the beginning of each sprint, all the current requirements are prioritised and we agree what should happen during the period. We can change or add priorities at any point, but obviously since the time-scale and budget remains the same, something else would have to give if we did that.

Our current list of requirements looks a little like this:

  • Work out how to download blog entries through the WordPress API (done)
  • Put them into a list on the home screens (done)
  • Create additional home-screens for the featured articles, suggested articles and list-by-category (done)
  • Create article pages with pictures and social sharing. (mainly done)
  • Work out how to implement Disqus with Qt for the comments.
  • Implement comments.
  • Work out how to make search work.
  • Implement search.
  • Make videos play in the video player.
  • Podcast player.
  • Icons, controls and other design elements.
  • Pretty it up.
  • Settings screen for staying logged into Twitter and Facebook.
  • Homepage widget showing unread count.
  • Offline use – do we cache the most recent articles?

So the main things, reading the blog and finding new articles, get sorted out first. Nice-to-have stuff – like article caching – is the last thing to receive attention. So if something goes horribly wrong and time is short, we still end up with a working app.

Let us know what you think should be in our priorities list.

image credit: Carl Johan