Rebuilding AcquiaU in Week Three

Two weeks have passed and Acquia has decided that we are ready to take on our first real challenge. The rebuilding of the current AcquiaU website. Originally built by the first AcquiaU class to come through, the site (much like the original AcquiaU students) is old and outdated. The project is taken on in the exact same way that Acquia would take with any of it's other clients, except this time Acquia personnel are the actual stakeholders for the site. A stakeholder is anyone that has an interest in the development of the product, in this case the product being the new site. First things first though, and that is the announcement that this project will be a head to head deathmatch. The AcquiaU class is divided into two even teams of 5, both teams working separately towards the same goal but only one team will survive the final judgement. That team will win the right to use their design as the new AcquiaU site while the other team will get absolutely nothing. Obviously a lot of pride is at stake.

Like any other project that Acquia takes on, the process begins with a discovery meeting. This is our initial meeting with the stakeholders to find out exactly what they want the purpose of the new site to be. During this process we discover that they, like many clients, don't exactly know what they want. Thanks to some coaching the previous day by Mark Sakurada, we learn that even though we are the ones delivering the product, we also have to be the ones that kind of drive the meeting as well. Instead of letting the clients run free with wild ideas that are way out of scope, we have to keep them grounded and in a sense guide them to reach the conclusion of what they are actually looking for. This whole discovery process was new to everyone one of us currently enrolled in AcquiaU and proved to be a great learning experience. Though there were many stumbling points for us, we managed to fumble through and by the end we had a realistic set of business requirements laid out for a successful site.

These business requirements would be the foundation going forward on how we fleshed out the site architecture and from this point on the teams would be working separately on their own site. Though a friendly rivalry by all means, there was an unspoken war brewing. I'm not sure if it is just a coincidence but it was around this time when the first of the nerf guns started to appear in the office and it wasn't going to be the last one.

About the Author

John Cunningham

I joined the U.S. Marine Corp at the age of 17. I served for five years part of which fell during Operation Enduring Freedom. Following the Marines, I attended the university of Central Florida and received my Bachelors of Science in Biology.

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