OpenX Method Explained in AI Projects
OpenX Method is our way to enhance traditional project approaches and make them perfectly suitable for remote development.
It is intended in particular for small and medium-sized companies, which need to be updated with regular reports on the progress of their projects.
At the same time, it streamlines the bureaucratic complications that normally affect large companies.
So, what is it all about?
How it all started
Talking with various clients in outsourcing, I noticed a common pattern.
They were usually satisfied with their remote software vendors for the final result, but kind of uneasy with their way of updating them about how the project was going on.
You know, people are usually thousands of kilometers away and traditional methods do not consider these fears.
To solve this problem, we took traditional SCRUM that almost all companies use, but we spiced it up and that is how the OpenX method was born.
Traditional approaches are the past, we work in the future
We are living in the age of flexibility and Agile. The most known Agile methodology is SCRUM, which was able to easily displace the entire set of rules of the legendary PMBOK.
You could tell us: “Why don’t you like PMBOK? It is the cornerstone of project management!”.
Yes, it is. But it’s also too formal, too complicated and too big for us.
We are a small, dynamic company and we love to do things fast: it is simply unacceptable to use formal and overly complex approaches in our business. Formal approaches are the past.
Specialized approaches are better, but not enough for us
What about SCRUM or CRISP-DM, pseudonym of “Cross-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining”?
Well, CRISP-DM does not have the flexibility and predictability of SCRUM.
But SCRUM methodology focuses too much on Project teams and Project flow (the program of a project’s life cycle).
On the other hand, there is almost no place for transparent communication. For many managers and Product Owners, SCRUM creates the illusion of control.
They see “sprints”, “story points”, dutiful “burn down” diagrams, and all the other mysterious terminology and images, but the actual project flow is still a black box for them.
They know something… or nothing.
How can OpenX solve your problems?
AI projects are a special category of projects. An AI project involves a long work of research.
And it is not possible to predict the results with 100% accuracy during the planning before the project research part will be completed.
This is the second black box.
So, it is like a black box inside a black box.
SCRUM cannot solve this issue and bring light into AI’s dark matter.
It needs the help of OpenX.
And OpenX can do it!
We took the best and made it even better
We took all the most suitable things from PMBOK, CRISP-DM, and SCRUM.
We used a process-based approach from PMBOK: this guarantees the solid structure of our processes and pipelines for projects.
Then, we mixed CRISP cycles and a research-oriented approach with SCRUM sprints (the different steps of the project), measurements, and predictability.
Finally, we spiced up everything with something new: communication and openness.
The result is the OpenX method, which helps us to make our clients and partners happy.
Communication is what we believe in
But how can we solve the “Black box” issue with OpenX?
Well, it’s simple.
- We are open.
- We proactively communicate with our clients and partners.
- We explain the flow, the state, and even the subject area of their project simply and intuitively, without any weird SCRUM terminology.
We do it with our clients and even with Business Owners because every AI project always reaches the point in which our team understands the project itself and its subject area better than our clients.
And we want to share this knowledge with them!
The key points of OpenX
OpenX is really a cool thing!
Let’s make a comparison between ordinary SCRUM and Agile, which was enhanced with the help of OpenX:
We would like to highlight some key points from the table above:
SCRUM focuses on project Team and Project flow. OpenX focuses on collaboration with our partners and clients.
It means that communication with our clients and their involvement in the project isn’t less important for us than team and project implementation.
SCRUM contains very brief rules regarding communication: it’s just role description.
But we created a powerful process with detailed rules and actions that are necessary to establish a proactive collaboration.
Traditional methodologies do not pay enough attention to reporting or keeping partners and clients informed.
We do. Reporting and proper informing are essential parts of our methodology.
The PMBOK by PMI contains such rules, but they are too complicated and too general to be applied in the modern world.
And they are primarily good for big companies, but not for the small and medium businesses and startups.
SCRUM focuses on project flow and tries to measure things that are directly connected to the tasks (like performance time and story points).
All the other metrics are mostly based on these two points plus some math calculations. It does not show the real overall picture of an AI project.
OpenX contains just understandable KPIs, that represent real facts, like the quality of an AI system. So, they definitely will have a sense for you.
Tradition methodologies say a lot about motivation. But no one cares about the real basis of the motivation: the emotional state of the team. Because of this, OpenX has some Emotion state metrics implemented in our methodology.
Traditional methodologies pay very small attention to communication. At best, they describe only which project roles are responsible for what type of communication.
From our many years of experience, we can say that it’s not enough.
OpenX includes communication approaches and rules, so our clients and project team will have all the necessary information.
What is the result?
So, what did we end up doing? We took quite abstract traditional methodologies such as SCRUM or CRISP-DM and made them more practical!
We brought them into the real world, taking into account emotions and understandability.
We made them fast and simple, removing all the unnecessary things.
OpenX is the result.
OpenX is collaboration, transparency, and sharing of knowledge.
Now you know that with the right approach, your AI project won’t be an incomprehensible black box!
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Peter Kudlacek is a CEO at Apro Software . He has been in software development business for the last 15 years. He succesfully built several IT companies.