A Case for Agile Development
May 12, 2014
As a sales engineer, I find some clients are reluctant to leave the safety net of a fixed-bid proposal behind. When presented with the option of an agile approach to the development process, anxiety can and does creep up.
In some corporate environments knowing exactly what a project is going to cost is an unavoidable constraint. However, more often that not, by utilizing an agile process, we can save our clients money and deliver a superior product.
Agile software development methodologies contain several techniques for reducing overhead and time to delivery . The various techniques are flexible methodologies that can deliver what many customers desire throughout the software development process, including:
- Frequent delivery of tested software development, typically in short, time-boxed iterations
- Acceptance (and sometimes encouragement) of requirement changes amid iterations to meet changing business wishes
- Complete client involvement throughout each iteration to define requirements, relative priority and influence alignment of development team productivity with business goals
Planning is a big part of agile development and the process can be modified and combined with existing organizational requirements. In fact, most agile methods do not prescribe a “hard and fast” methodology, but instead focus on simplifying development by embracing the (potentially) changing business needs, and producing a viable software product as quickly as possible.
Along with the benefit of a flexible development lifecycle, clients receive weekly burn reports of actual resource hours used, allowing for complete visibility into the project development and hours used/remaining allowing for informed decision making and project steering.
We have frequently seen clients taking great advantage of this powerful information and either enhancing explicit functionality beyond the original specification or adjusting the overall project scope (up or down) based on the predictive powers of the burn report.
While an agile approach may bring some anxieties to the surface, it’s well worth it to take the plunge.
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