Find Business Success with Agile Software Development Methodologies
Agile software development methodologies have proven their mettle in recent years and “agile” is becoming a buzz word in software development and project management. It makes sense, therefore, to understand what drives the success of these methodologies and consider if your business could benefit from implementing it.
What is the Agile Software Development Methodology?
Agile Development works on the principles of iteration and incremental development. It does not rely on a linear method approach but focuses on rapid delivery of fully functional application components. The focus is not on tasks, but on time phases called “sprints.” These sprints are of specific duration and begin with a detailed plan of what is to be delivered at the end of a sprint. Continuous testing, feedback, and improvement are vital aspects of the agile methodology.
At the heart of the agile methodology is its focus on individuals and interactions rather than processes and tools. Rather than focusing on comprehensive documentation to prove a project’s worth, the primary measure of progress in agile methodology is delivering working, tested software. This serves as a basis for collaboration between teams and customers, gaining feedback and swiftly responding to change. Value-driven development is given prime importance with the focus on delivering visible results and business value continuously. This way, stakeholders and projects have complete visibility on where the project stands and the business value they can expect at any given point of the project.
Scrum is an important aspect of the agile methodology and deserves a mention in the context of discussing agile methodologies. Using the principles of agile methodology, Scrum advocates a self-organizing and cross-functional team. The Scrum method is supported by two specific roles – the Scrum Master (who acts as the coach to direct teams towards agility and high performance) and the Product Owner (who helps the team build the right product and represents the company and end users).
Why Agile Methodology Trumps Traditional Development Methods
There are many reasons why Agile Methodology is being favored over traditional methods worldwide. We have listed out a few:
Faster and Better Workflow:
Agile Methodology is completely different from traditional Waterfall Methodologies, where projects follow a linear approach and progress from one step to another only after the previous step is completed. The traditional time-consuming method of relying on comprehensive documentation and analysis before the design and commencement of the project is eliminated.
Implementation and development begin almost immediately in agile development and the processes and development is refined in increments based on continuous feedback from customers and project teams. This also cuts out the verification and maintenance stage in the Waterfall Method, where the end product is tested, bugs are fixed, and the code is maintained. In the agile method, this testing and bug fixing is already being done continuously throughout the project, ensuring that the final product is refined and ready to be deployed.
Multilevel and continuous planning:
The absence of detailed analysis before implementation in agile methodology does not mean that the project is initiated without any substantial planning. On the contrary, multi-level and continuous planning is a vital feature of the agile development methodology. The planning follows a just-in-time approach, which aligns the information available with what details are necessary at the time.
The planning usually happens on at least two levels – the release level and the iteration level. At the release level, planning involves identifying and prioritizing the necessary features required in the software. This gives a basis to decide which features must be worked on first. Planning at the iteration level involves which features must be implemented next and the optimal size of batches which can be practically delivered in a single iteration.
The most important feature of agile methodologies is that it places the customer at the center of the development process. Teams are directed to think of product design through user stories and use cases, which ensures that customers are always kept at the heart of the process. User stories specify the needs of the end users and the various scenarios that they will use to fulfill that need.
Use cases show how the product developed will help end users achieve the outcome they want in the user story. In this way, the whole development process becomes focussed on what the customer needs. This is the foundation of Customer Experience (CX), which is fast becoming the defining success factor for companies today.
Business Success with Agile Software Development Methodologies
Businesses the world over are embracing and implementing agile methodologies in their efforts to improve their project management capabilities and improve performance. The 9th Global Project Management Survey, which surveyed 3,234 project management professionals from all over the world attests to this fact.
According to the survey, 71% of organizations use Agile approaches in their business. “We believe that agility could also be used in multiple ways— in everything we do,” says Phillippe Husser, a survey respondent and Senior Partner of Progress Direction Michelin. “In fact, the world is changing very quickly around us, so much so that we cannot afford anymore to have projects taking two to five years to deliver, because, during this time, the initial requirements have changed.”
Case in Point: Ericsson
Ericsson is a leading provider of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers and covers 40% of the world’s mobile phone traffic. The company with around 100,000 employees is a classic case in point to show the successful implementation of agile methodologies even in large-sized companies.
The company used to use a plan-driven software process but switched to agile in 2012. One of their main areas of focus was to develop a XaaS platform and services that the customers would use as a service. The results have been phenomenal.
Steve Dennings, an expert on agile methodology and author of The Age of Agile, summarizes the success points of Ericsson’s adoption of agile methodologies this way: “Now with Agile management, Ericsson has over 100 small teams working with its customers’ needs in three-week cycles. The result is faster development that is more relevant to the specific needs of the customers. The client gets value sooner. Ericsson has less work in progress. And Ericsson is deploying one to two years earlier than it otherwise would so that its revenue comes in one to two years earlier.”
Find Success with Agile Software Development
Agile development and methodology is an integral part of Fingent Technologies and creating agile software products for different industry sectors such as healthcare, finance, education, entertainment and media, real estate and retail amongst others. Get in touch with us so we can discuss how you can get effective in your agile journey and find success.
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So, You– one of the key decision makers of your company, have a cool idea, a plan or a requirement for a software application, a mobile application for your business, a website, or need to automate an ineffective business process. You might have an overview of what you need, but can’t do it yourself, or you don’t know any good connections doing the job.
What would you do?
How will you choose that perfect custom software development company which can provide the best solutions among the millions of other custom software development firms out there? I am sure that you know there is a lot of difference between finding a software firm and finding the best software development company for your requirements.
The majority of the established firms out there are masters of their art providing excellent solutions and service. They are all well-experienced in creating software or applications from scratch to enterprise levels. Most of these have spent a considerable period in the industry, know the trends and are constantly striving in a market that is highly competitive and advancing day by day. So, how do you select that one provider from these many experts out there in the market? It’s indeed a very tricky job and should be done with caution. However, you will find great use of the points given below to select your right software outsourcing partner.
Identify your Needs
How can you choose the best when you don’t know what you want? Identify your business needs properly, talk to your employees, evaluate the problems and analyze the solution. Form an outline of the solution you want to meet the objectives. Depending on the nature of your project, the requirements and reputation choose offshore or onshore providers.
Check the Company’s Technical Skills and Expertise
Gather information about the company – the skill , knowledge of the team members and their portfolio working in the latest technologies in similar domain as yours, company’s experience handling projects in the particular niche/ domain, company’s skill in decoding your requirements into apt solution, the communication effectiveness, adherence to deadlines, and the like. Look for teams providing direct access to developers who can communicate well with you. Software houses with teams experienced in agile or hybrid agile methodologies are always better choices. Have casual getting to know each other kind of chats, but gather solid information in the course of your interaction, that clearly showcases their efficiency in previous works.
Check their Reputation with Others
Of course, you want to partner with the best custom software development company, but would you go for a company that is not polite and nice to work with? How scalable are their solutions? Know the company’s flexibility to get on with different atmospheres by looking at their client base and client relationship history. Check the clients’ and customers’ testimonials/reviews on platforms like Clutch, GoodFirms, etc. or connect with one of their clients through social media channels to know their opinion about the company, talk to real people via online forums, discussions and other social media to know their opinion, direct or indirect experience with this company. Doing these will sometimes leave you confused with overwhelming responses from different people, nevertheless, take an average of pros and cons and decide what cons can you overlook for better pros of the company that aligns with your requirements.
Cost is always as important as the company’s expertise. Determine whether the cost of the project falls in your budget. Unless confident on the guaranteed ROIs, you don’t want to go bankrupt buying an over expensive software that automates parts of your business. That said, you don’t have to compromise on the quality of the software for low costs either. Certain companies price their solutions for the sheer fact of overcharging to seem like a bigger and better company. Do not forget to look for hidden or additional costs in the contract, like additional fees for documents management, annual setup/ maintenance in addition to monthly support charges, in-person training, etc.
Size of your Software Project
Is your project small, medium, large or huge? Not all companies undertake any size of custom software development projects. Certain software development companies commit only to big fishes, providing them giant, multi-year, million dollar projects. These are usually famous brands and industry experts. Whereas many smart small to medium size companies take multi-year projects. Such companies’ growth curve over a small period of time shall showcase their competency and potential. Has the company been growing fast or diminishing in size or stagnant over this period?
How Passionate are they to Develop the Solution
The company to which you outsource must understand your requirement in a way you understand and aspire to. Are they as passionate as you about this project? Are they completely dedicated to making a quality product or are they just doing a duty for money they take? These are evident from the way they suggest added features which can be included, future scopes for the product, or deny with an idea that is not quite useful. However, make sure they back their opinion with proper facts and reasons that convince you about their dedication and is not just to ‘make the task easy’ for them.
What happens in the Case of Divorce?
Jon Lincoln, business development specialist at Etfile says that, “Some vendors try shady tactics by holding your data hostage (as if they own it!) or charge an exorbitant amount to sway you from leaving”. Get proper agreement on safety and security issues and how you get your data back in case you leave the vendor. Expect some charges especially if the data was encrypted, but it shouldn’t make you bankrupt in any case.
Quality of After- Sale Support and Services:
Even the most perfect solutions guarantee only 99.9999% up-time. Unfortunately, there are no 100% perfect solutions. Even though too small, there is always a fraction of the chance that things might go wrong after delivery, especially in the case of software. So make sure your vendor company provides direct access to the technical team and offer good support, maintenance, cloud-based updates and upgrades and troubleshooting services for a fair period of time after sales.
Take a Test Drive
Most companies these days provide a free trial to ensure the quality of the features, benefits, and usability. Ensure that the software meets your requirements, have necessary features and functionality. During the trial, feel free to ask your vendor all the questions and doubts you may have.
Your first stepping stone to establishing your goal is choosing the right custom software development company. A fault here might lead to devastating results. So, take no chance, do thorough research and study based on the factors mentioned above. Based on our experience developing and deploying custom software for a wide range of industries and organizations of varying sizes, we believe that the Best Company is that which deliver a solution blending with your business process to the highest degree, within the stipulated cost and time and without a compromise on quality!