January 22, 2014

Trying out the agile development guide, Professional Mentor

I have a real job and I spend a lot of time with developers and interaction designers, trying to make amazing web and mobile experiences for millions of people around the world. Yep, millions. I think it's hundreds of millions at this point. So I know web and product strategy, management, and analysis fairly well. I don't know much about agile though.

Several years ago, I took a workshop at my friend's user experience conference in Boston. I spent hours learning how to integrate user experience methods into an agile development cycle, and with all that focus, I still went home thinking agile and user experience methods just don't play nice together. They have different goals without the timeline to make true research happen, unless it's done before the project exists. It's not impossible. It's just very difficult.

Professional Mentor by Quick Focus, is a web experience offering a lot of documentation, videos, and process information, plus one-on-one mentorship opportunities with experienced professionals at various levels (including a CFO!)

I've made a video of my first time experience and put it on YouTube since it's fairly long. You'll get a chance to see what is inside the signed-in part of the site, some of the features, and a few of the challenges that could use some improvement.

I have to admit I did this video quickly so there are parts where I refer to Word docs that I'm fairly certain don't appear in the video. But otherwise, you should see what I see:

Checking out Professional Mentor for agile development on YouTube

The Professional Mentor site says they are a step-by-step guide on how to achieve desired personal or business benefit on time and to budget using an Agile approach. I'm not sure I'd agree with "step-by-step," but they do offer plenty of resources for understanding agile.

I think the template resources are very helpful, but that's given my distaste for the amount of documentation required by many product development methods. At first, I was annoyed they were Word docs, but I realize most people use Word and would be fine with that. A PDF may not be easy for most people to edit. The downside of a Word doc though, is it won't always look nice on everyone's computer. It didn't on mine because I'm a Mac person.

Some of the information was missing and I came across several 404 errors. That's kind of a big problem in my book. That shouldn't happen. If the site is ready and live and people are paying, everything needs to work.

The mentorship aspect is in the one-on-one messaging offered on the site. This is really the only aspect of the service that is true mentorship, so I wish it was given more focus and expanded to an ongoing mentorship relationship. The program is called "Professional Mentor." I expect mentorship to be the number one focus, not documentation and overviews.

If the focus was more on mentorship, this would be a very unique opportunity for people interested in agile to learn quite a bit. I would like the site to fix some of their missing pages and make sure all the resources are available. With that, it would be an excellent differentiator in the training market.

Curious about Professional Mentor by Quick Focus?
Visit the Quick Focus website for information on all their products and to sign up for Professional Mentor!

You can learn even more on the Quick Focus Facebook page, Google+, Twitter, and the Quick Focus blog.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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