Agile Traditionally, software design has used a Waterfall method. This process requires the development team to gather all information on the project application upfront, including requirements, desired functionalities and internal processes. The project manager designs the project roadmap. The stakeholders provide feedback after reviewing the project roadmap. The development team builds the application and returns a finished product.
During the build, the stakeholders seldom have any input in the process once the initial project roadmap is approved. If the business environment remains static, this methodology might work well. However, that is seldom the case. Therefore, using this method exposes businesses to additional cost and time because changing business needs were not addressed during the development process.
When developing a critical business application, you can’t afford to waste thousands of dollars on a failed project.
The Agile methodology represents a major departure from the traditional approach to application development. Customer collaboration and response to change are vitally important in the Agile approach as these two pieces insure stable cost, active development, functional applications and adaptability. That is a big advantage in the fast-paced world of application development, but it’s not the only one.
Incremental releases and ongoing feedback give stakeholders more control, less risk, and early access to project features, but most importantly, it leads to superior finished products. Agile development teams typically work in short one or two-week sprints, requiring stakeholder input every week or two.
Stakeholders are involved in every step of the process. Developers at MXOtech solicit feedback on the direction of a product and make small course corrections when necessary at the end of each sprint rather than catastrophic changes later or at the end of development. Stakeholder involvement during the development process insures frequent quality control and cost/time control to ensure that a project stays on course.
Involving stakeholders earlier in the application development process also shortens turnaround times. IT technicians and business owners speak completely different languages, but with the Agile methodology, stakeholders have the opportunity to review and approve each phase; often avoiding costly revisions later. One of the greatest advantages of the Agile structure is that although a project may have many working parts, those that have been completed may be implemented before the total project is finished, thus immediately improving productivity.
Since stakeholders are aware of each sprint’s goals and will have continual input throughout the life of a project, both productivity and confidence in the final outcome is assured.
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The piece-by-piece nature of Agile project management and application development means it’s unlikely that an application will not be functional. It is also unlikely that goals will not be met and the stakeholder will end up with bloated costs, or time frames. In comparison to traditional application development where projects often end up with bloated costs and time frames or may even be scrapped because business requirements changed during development, Agile guarantees a product that has responded to the changing needs of the business environment.
Regular meetings between developers and stakeholders ensure everyone always has the same end goal in mind. With the Agile approach, there’s more accountability, more accurate timelines, realistic goals, and greater customer satisfaction.
Initial drafts are never going to be perfect, but that’s just part of the process. An Agile approach gives stakeholders the opportunity to offer feedback quickly and keep the operation going in the right direction. Furthermore, for some applications, it is possible to start on-boarding users right away, which means a faster return on investment. Instead of having to wait months for a full software package to be built, tested, and released, Agile provides the opportunity for access to completed features that will continue to receive updates and upgrades as necessary.
Agile development firms insure that the project proposal is realistic, progress review provides adaptability to changing business requirements and response to market pressures, and finished products match projected cost and timelines. There is no doubt that the Agile methodology is the way to go for maximum return on investment.