Agile Software Development
How could agile software developers work for you?
How could agile software developers work for you?
You’ve probably heard of software development companies calling themselves ‘agile’. You’ve maybe even pictured a team limbering up on the yoga mats they keep under their desks.
Well, there’s another version of agile which is just as flexible, just as good for you, but there’s no downward facing dog’s involved!
Traditionally, bespoke software development followed a waterfall methodology, whereby the process was marked out in incremental stages from start to finish. A logical sequence of requirements and architecture followed by design, coding, testing and launch. However, the major downfall of the waterfall approach is that clients wouldn’t get their hands on the software until the testing stage. At which point if a fundamental flaw was uncovered, or if a process had changed in the meantime, a significant amount of work would need to be redone.
Agile software development has a more phased approach. Made up of many practices and cycles, some bespoke software development companies will fully adopt agile methodologies, whilst others use as a guideline. Whichever practice is in place, there are some excellent benefits to working with agile software developers.
Here’s everything you need to know about how agile software development could work for your business.
Agile software development promotes simplicity; taking complex business systems and making the process as straightforward as possible. Many bespoke software development companies will utilise the Scrum methodology, which is a key part of the agile approach. Using Scrum, software developers are able break down the development into manageable sprints.
Software developers working in an agile environment are also eager to find the simplest software solution. That’s not to say that their job will be easy; if anything the simplest solution is the hardest to make work. Designing a process which requires minimum user input, a minimum amount of clicks to reach an outcome.
Focus is key in bespoke software development. Delivering working software to clients at key sprints allows software developers to focus on one area of a workflow or functionality at a time. Iterative development cycles allow each sprint to be reviewed, tested and adapted until it is right.
Dividing the project up into iterations has countless benefits. Namely that software developers can pay close attention to the detail; ensure they are delivering what the client is looking for; that anything missed out of the scope is included; and that users are actively involved in how the software will work for them.
Sprints are also chalked up as achievements. And when you’re working on a complex project, it’s really quite rewarding to achieve regular milestones along the way.
Working in an agile development environment allows everything to happen faster. As a project management framework, Scrum focuses on delivering new software every couple of weeks. Scrum works wonders because it focuses on what is happening now (rather than what was happening six weeks before when the software specification was originally written) and on making continuous adaptations and improvements.
Using Scrum as a framework enables software developers to deliver frequently. And it’s more than just updates that are delivered round a weekly board table; rather they can give the client software to test on a regular basis.
This way of working really does drive projects forward, getting all teams invested and excited about their new software product.
Being flexible to change is not just par for the course for agile software developers; it’s actually more of a mindset. It’s important to welcome change as a positive thing. Understanding that changes are not always a hindrance; more often than not they are a way of making the software a perfect tailored fit.
Software requirements that are drawn up at the beginning of a project cannot always encapsulate everything that the user needs. It’s often not until the user gets their hands on the software that other needs and functionality spring to mind.
Teamwork makes the dream work is one of the foundations of agile development. There is no us and them. It’s very much a collaborative project team combining the bespoke development company and the client’s business.
Software developers need to understand a clients’ business inside out; how their teams will use the systems on a daily and hourly basis. To understand outcomes of business processes.
By having regular meetings, weekly, sometimes daily, agile software developers are able to build a great rapport, ask lots of questions, answer queries, talk through ideas. And above all, deliver a high level of customer satisfaction.
Communication is frequent and vital for agile software development to work effectively. As software developers, we rely on our client’s knowledge as much as we rely on our own technical knowledge.
It’s rare, however, that the team can be in the same place that often. So, it’s really important to have effective project management tools in place to increase visibility, and so that all members of the team are aware of development status.
Internally, many bespoke software development companies will hold daily ‘scrums’ to manage projects. Led by a Scrum Master or Senior Software Developer, the meeting will focus on knowledge-sharing, updates, wins, losses and next steps.
Progress is much more measurable in an agile development environment. Clients are not only able to see what has been achieved, they can also ensure they understand exactly what is required of them to meet sprint deadlines too.
Focused on collaboration, simplicity speed, adapting and evolving to ensure the software system is exactly fit for purpose, agile software development has many benefits.
Client Stanley and Strong is a London based firm of Party Wall Sureyours with experience in residential and commercial surveying. Together we developed a clever web based workflow and project management tool to manage the complex administrative Party Wall procedures.Read Client Story