San Francisco, CA (Vocus) November 10, 2010
Let’s start with three essential questions to understanif Agile Methodology is something that your business could benefit from:
1.) Do you see a need in your company to handle changing requirements more efficiently while improving communication between customers and your projects?
2.) Could your company use a re-structuring that transfers some of the responsibility from the managers to the project teams, creating altered roles and a new leadership culture and increased cohesion?
3.) Are you willing to follow in the footsteps of industry leading E-Commerce and Software Development organizations to address the failings of your software development process?
When speaking with clients these are the aspects of their business that they are more often than not hoping to address within their company, and these are exactly the areas that Avenue Code helps them tackle through an innovative project management and development tool known as Agile Methodology. Let’s look at how Agile address each of these questions.
Our first question addresses the common knowledge that the software development world is constantly changing, evolving, and new products are rendering slightly less new products obsolete at an alarming rate. This creates a huge risk for any software developer, as they need to be able to create and release products that incorporate their clients needs and make sense in the market place. By implementing Agile any software development company is able to deal with these demands and changes in a systematic and controlled way, allowing them to provide the client and market with a product it wants and needs, while still keeping costs low. This is achieved through the use of a constantly evolving backlog and the use of Sprints. It is the incremental and iterative nature of these short (often only two weeks) Sprints that allow production teams to adjust to changes in demand and produce features that reflect the demand in the market place. These changes do not cost the client anything additional, it simple means that the backlog of already established tasks or “stories” will be reworked to ensure that only the features that will have a high return on investment will be created.
When we assist companies in their transformation to http://www.avenuecode.com an [Agile Software Development] process, one of the initial pain points for their teams is often the restructuring that occurs. Agile is based on a project management methodology known as SCRUM. In a SCRUM setting teams consist of a Product Manager or Owner who represents the clients needs and compiles all the changes planned for the product and prioritizes the possible functionalities. This is what becomes known as the backlog, essentially a to-do list that will be subdivided down into smaller sets of to-do lists for each Sprint. The teams are guided, but not run, but a SCRUM master whose sole tasks are to assist create the Sprint backlog and to assist the team in reaching their goals however possible. The teams themselves are between five and nine people and are self-organized. This is scary for most companies, as this restructuring requires that much of the onus for completing the project on time rest with the team; however, through a team mentality where progress is measured as a whole and not individually, teams have proven to be more effective and efficient. Once your teams have reached a constant velocity, companies will be able to better plan and foresee how long projects will realistically take them, again making them better able to adapt to changes.
“With the market changing rapidly, projects becoming more complex, and external factors becoming increasingly more difficult to manage, Agile is a simple method that allows us to adapt,” says Erin Hersey of FavorPals. “The Agile transformation process produces a unique ‘fingerprint’ for each company who goes through the process, producing your own hyper-productive tool.”
If you are still implementing a Waterfall style methodology at your company instead of an Agile Software Development process, the inefficiencies in your development system are most likely obvious and rampant. Industry leaders across E-Commerce, like Xerox or Microsoft, have made the change to Agile because it is based in lean practices that not only produce a better product, but also save them money. If you are considering changing to an Agile process reach out to companies like yours who are using Agile and see for yourself the benefits of becoming lean and responsive. Then consider a transformation for your own software development process, because like a fingerprint, every Agile transformation creates a tool that is uniquely fit to your company.
If you are interested in learning more about Agile please contact Avenue Code at info(at)avenuecode(dot)com.