Flexibility in Technology Projects: An Interview with Alejandro Dávila about the FLUID Methodology

Base22 Experts Series: FLUID

Alejandro Dávila is Base22’s Chief Operating Officer. He is also one of the minds behind FLUID, the in-house methodology used for all Base22 projects. Since 2015, FLUID has been one of the key elements for our world-class delivery capabilities, and it has become a mindset on how we approach projects as a consulting firm. During the last week of April, we had the opportunity to interview Alejandro about this methodology. He shared with us some important insights for any IT team entering a new project.

What are the advantages of working with a project methodology like FLUID?

It provides a lot of benefits. One: it gives a clear vision to our customers about how we achieve things and how we execute their projects. Two: Internally, it provides guidance to each of the roles in a project and what needs to happen in different domains. Give a sense of the entire project to the managers. To provide a single approach, a single direction, for any type of project.

From our understanding, one of the principles of FLUID is flexibility. How do you think being flexible in our technology projects helps achieve success?

Some companies think being strict means being professional, but again, our flexibility is one of our success metrics.

One of our learning experiences is being flexible. It's extremely important because you cannot be super strict when it comes to projects. That's one of the challenges in the minds of even the best project managers.

FLUID has intersections between the milestones. They are not exit gates. They are connected. That's why you can have our designer make suggestions in the development phase. If you cut that out of the development phase, you may lose something important. It's their creation, so they are making sure that's happening. It applies to every role: with a business analyst, for example, we trust their ability to ensure the requirements are met across the project.

So that's why it's so important. It is important to maintain flexibility as a mindset, and that's why it's called FLUID. It needs to be flexible. Not restrictive. You need to be open. We need to be ready to take risks.

How successful are the projects that Base22 has implemented using FLUID? Does the methodology help achieve better levels of success?

Absolutely. I will actually put it the opposite way. If we didn't have the methodology, it is certain that we would not have been successful - working it like a continuous operation or a project that doesn't have an end. That's the mistake. That's why our customers and our projects are successful: we have a clear understanding of the business needs. We have a clear understanding and mentality of how to approach the initial development phase. And we have guidelines to test.

How does FLUID get along with other common methodologies like PMI or DevOps?

It combines several of those methodologies because we need to approach projects from different angles. On top of that, we need to add a couple of things based on our own experience that is not out there, but we need them.

So that's why it is so fun. That's why it's working so well because it takes years to bring this together. It took years to have this blended mentality that is working for us. And it has the best of all the worlds.

What do you think FLUID expresses about the way we work at Base22?

It's not just a matter of having the technical skills. FLUID is more about how to organize different domains between all the different phases and who's going to do what and when. The customers are impressed because it is incredible - many companies don't usually implement a methodology. They tried to enforce a single methodology instead of thinking outside of the box and saying, wait a minute, we should just use this from this methodology and use just this part of this other methodology.

Thinking outside the box and doing something highly customized for how we work, based on the research on the market and based on our own experience, gave us the perfect recipe for our own projects. I have seen many companies try to do it, but they are unsuccessful. If you follow this recipe, you end up with a delicious dish.

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