SharePoint Implemented for Global Project Collaboration

Situation

Our client had a challenging global communication model and a mandate to expand their business model to include maritime shipping logistics and corresponding vessel analytics vianew marine navigation applications. The main project stakeholder researched and assisted in the acquisition of 5 different Microsoft .Net applications that each had different functionality, including activities such as:

  • Shipping route optimization
  • Piracy zone notification
  • Ecological fuel burning zone notification
  • On-board logistics
  • Charter party contract terms, analytical reporting, and other features

All five applications, unfortunately, were associated with different SDLC tools and the teams, with differing communication processes, supported these applications and were spread across at least 4 global time zones. Many of the software developers and other project team members all shared similar complaints from business units requesting the project team to deliver features faster and with greater accuracy. For developers, the software environment elevation process and requirements distillation process were extremely cumbersome, which prevented the rapid and accurate development of new software features, once they were ready. There were simply too many tools and disconnected process to deliver new software features at the velocity that business units required.

The list of related software development and management tools was extensive: Contour for requirements, Confluence for documentation, Hudson or Fisheye for source control, JIRA for bug and issue tracking, Visual Studio for software development, Bamboo(or sometimes Jenkins) for code deployment, and HP Quality Center for test script creation and additional issue tracking.

Approach

A strategy to consolidate all the software development, communication and requirements capturing tools into a single tool and communications process was the ideal solution. Azure DevOps is known as a source control repository and CI tool, but the visionaries at Microsoft have done a masterful job of creating it as a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ SDLC tool. SharePoint, in conjunction with Azure DevOps, replaced all the tools that were previously mentioned. The integration capabilities of SharePoint, along with Azure DevOps serves as an ideal requirements persistence and project communications tool that can be connected to and synced, with User Stories for developers that in turn can be integrated with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project.

Azure DevOps can be connected to SharePoint to share work items, project status reports, and requirements in a collective fashion, with all SDLC team members, giving non-technical stake holders an instant ‘status report view’ while removing the time-consuming context of switching tasks from developers rendering them to be more productive.

Results

Once the ‘context switching’ that was cannibalizing and adding confusion to the project was removed, the projects delivery velocity was increased, and the project team was able to exceed business expectations, and capture clients such as Shell, British Petroleum, Scorpio, and Eagle Bulk. This also provided them their tanker logistics tracking software.