Taking an agile approach to bespoke software
Find out why agile development is the best approach to building custom software
Why it’s vital to take an agile approach to bespoke software
Successful bespoke software development needs two key things to be successful:
- Project management
- Clear communication
Without them, development will be delayed, and end up costing more than planned.
Or, and, you won’t get the bespoke software you were expecting.
There are lots of ways to manage custom software development projects.
Some a lot better than others.
By far, the best way is to take an agile approach.
Because it removes a lot of the old problems with how software used to be developed.
In the bad old days, you’d brief your custom software developer, they’d go away and build the software, and then you’d launch it and spend the next few months fixing the bugs.
All while you tried to get on with the task of running your business.
Or, the software wouldn’t be what you were expecting.
Or was missing a key functionality that had been overlooked, and you’d have to go back to the drawing board.
An agile approach is much better to developing bespoke software for your business.
First, understand the project
Ok, so this hasn’t changed.
The first job of any custom software development is to get a clear understanding of the project.
This includes why you want custom software, what you’re expecting it to do, how it will fit into your business and your current software stack.
Plus the timeline to complete the project.
Oh, and the budget.
For us, this is the stage when we really want to take our time and work with you to work out every detail so we both understand and agree on what is expected.
You’d be surprised how many times a vague brief will be accepted, which always leads to problems.
It’s also an opportunity for us to ask questions and possibly make some recommendations based on our experience.
Analysing your requirements
Now that we’ve all agreed on the plan for your bespoke software, we’ll analyse what you’re looking for and develop a plan of action for how we’ll develop your custom software.
We’ll look at the key points we’ve discussed with you in the planning stage:
- Your operational needs from custom software
- The pain points you’re looking to fix
- How the software fits into your business
- How you’ll judge the ROI of your investment
At this point, you’ll be looking for a custom software developer with some experience.
Unless you’ve created an entirely new industry with your business, chances are your development partner has developed software along the lines of what you’re looking for.
Not exactly the same, but they’ll be able to draw on some experience.
Again, at this stage communication is key.
Your partner (like us at Metatec) will make sure your stakeholders are involved and up-to-date with the analysis to make sure we’re on track.
Designing and implementing your custom software
This is the stage when agile custom software development moves away from the previous project management techniques.
Rather than building the entire piece of software, we’ll break the process down into sprints.
Each sprint is itself a smaller software development life-cycle plan.
Our first job is to create the minimum viable product.
This involves the planning, building, testing and evaluation of your software’s first iteration.
The reason an agile approach is better, is because rather than building an entire software product, it is easier to make smaller adjustments throughout the process, rather than loads of changes at the end.
Each sprint involves the development, demo and feedback of the current software iteration.
You’ll provide feedback on the software, and this will be used to inform the goals and requirements of the next iteration.
This has a number of benefits.
First, it keeps the development moving forward and on track.
Having regular updates and feedback also makes sure problems or changes are identified early.
And it makes sure the final product has already had the big issues taken care of, which makes the ongoing maintenance easier.
Test, deploy, maintain
In the old model of custom software development, this is where you as the client would see your software for the first time.
As you can imagine, this is where projects usually stalled.
But, within an agile development model, you’ve already seen multiple iterations of your software, you know the issues have been identified and fixed.
So by this time, you know what you can expect.
You won’t be caught off guard by unexpected changes, or missing functionality.
Or anything else.
Because we’ve already identified and fixed those things through the project lifecycle.
You’ve given us your feedback, and your new software is optimised and ready to go live.
At this stage, the initial work will be working out any small bugs.
But because much of the development has been done with your input, these changes will be minimal.
This is ultimately why agile custom development software is the best method.
And it’s why this is the model we use to help you.
We view software development as a partnership.
For us, we want to work with you to understand what you need so our expert team of custom software developers can create a product that will improve your business.
This is a big decision for you to make, and we want to make sure you make the right one.
If you want to know more about our custom software development, we have a catalogue of blogs explaining how it can benefit your company.
Or you can just get in touch with us.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
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