Blog posts tagged in Agile Development

Last updated on: 02/05/2017

Agile Project Management Methodology has emerged as a great alternative to traditional project management methodology, like Waterfall. Agile is predominant in IT and software projects since it allows to adapt to rapidly changing business environments. Unlike traditional project management, Agile calls for producing and delivering work in short bursts, also called sprints.

Gathering all the requirements before the development team even starts writing the code puts your software at a great risk of being not in line with current market demands and become a failure. When you decide what your product should be in the very beginning, you tend to ignore important iterations that must be made during the development lifecycle, thereby preventing your final product from being the right fit for the market.

A plethora of project management methodologies are available in tech market, however, for the success and timely completion of a project, it’s imperative to choose the one that fits your business requirements and empowers the product development to keep the pace with changing client demands.

Key characteristics of Agile Project Management

  • Empowers developers to self-organize the task

  • Enhances learning, knowledge sharing and communications among team members

  • Emergent behavior to deal with uncertainty

  • No detailed documentation and calls for just enough planning

  • Continuous product refinement via regular iterations

  • Constant feedback, research and creativity

  • Faster completion of projects without compromising on the quality of desired product

  • Maximum ROI

Agile project management is a boon especially to IT field because time determines the fate of your product. Since IT has become a fast-paced world, months have been reduced to weeks, and weeks have been reduced to days. If you take too long to develop a software, chances are high that the requirements for it change drastically by the time it is finally available for use, which makes Agility a matter of paramount importance. Agile enables the development team to work faster by dividing tasks into different sprints and incorporate innovation and uniqueness in the development process.

Limited documentation in Agile project management also improves the pace of a product’s development lifecycle. Instead of long documentation that nobody has time to read, Agile calls for increased interaction among team members, customer feedback, imagination, coding, testing and new ideas. These factors result in appropriate response to a change rather than following a plan that has prerequisite measures and no room for dealing with a change. Unlike traditional project management, Agile paves the way to adapt to even last-minute changes.

b2ap3_thumbnail_agile_methodology_overview.png

source: http://www.softwareadvice.com/

The biggest reason for the immense popularity of Agile is its basis - It’s not possible to determine all the tasks going to be required for completion of a software project up-front, design an architecture upfront and get all the requirements upfront. Agile is built upon the belief that constant feedback cycles, research, undisrupted interaction and creativity allows the plan, the requirements and the architecture of a project to gradually emerge. As a result, the end-product meets not only the client’s need, but latest market demands too.

Although Agile project management has proved to be a great help for IT managers, nearly 48% of US project managers use it for non-IT projects as well.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Agile-PM-Users-by-Project-Types.png

source: http://www.adfkickstart.com/agile-methodology

Since Agile project management is the best fit for businesses that have continuously changing environments and highly complex situations, it is often deployed in ever-evolving software and IT industry. However, non-IT managers have also begun to use Agile for project management as even they find it difficult to articulate requirements without seeing a tangible product first. Agile ensures production of a quality product that flawlessly meets client’s requirements.

If you have ever used Agile and have additional inputs to add, please share them in the comment box below.

 

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Most Technology Start-ups take the following conventional approach in their endeavour to start a successful business :

 

- prepare an elaborate business plan

- pitch it to investors

- build a team

- develop and introduce a product

- sell the product

 

Research shows that 3 out of 4 start-ups end up failing in their endeavour somewhere along this path. In most cases, further the stage of the failure from the point of inception, higher is the cost of failure. 

 

The alternative Lean approach for Product Development by Start-ups is essentially based on the following philosophy :

 

- build a 'minimum viable product' based on continuous 'customer development'

 

In the Lean Start-up model the founders do not begin with a business plan, instead they begin with the search for a business model. In this approach, multiple quick iterations of experimentation and feedback are conducted which result in a business model that is executable.

 

This will typically follow the following sequence :

- Translate idea into business model hypothesis.

- interact with one or more customers to test the hypothesis and validate the assumptions about the customer needs.

- create a 'minimum viable product' to fulfill a customer need

- let your customers try out the product and get feedback

- based on the customer feedback develop the next iteration of the 'minimum viable product'

 

 

Business Model Hypothesis :

Founders are expected to briefly describe the hypothesis in a framework called Business Model Canvas. This involves listing out how the company will create value for itself and for its customers in the Business Model Canvas (shown below) provided by Business Model Generation. This is a template in which you need to answer a set of questions under 9 key areas resulting in the business model hypothesis.

 

canvas1.gif

Business Model Canvas

(SOURCE:WWW.BUSINESSMODELGENERATION.COM/CANVAS)

 

 

Customer Development :

Lean Start-up approach requires the founders to test their hypothesis with the potential customers. The founders reach out to the potential users, purchasers, and partners for feedback on all aspects of the business model including product features, pricing, affordable customer acquisition strategies and distribution channels. The feedback can result in the business model hypothesis being improved upon or an coming up with a new business model hypothesis by dumping the existing idea.

 

Agile Product development :

Lean start-ups practice something called Agile Development for product development. Agile development works hand-in-hand with customer development.

 

This approach does not involve the typical long product development cycles which run for several months and is based on assumptions of knowledge of customers’ problems and product needs. Agile product development aims to develop the 'minimum viable product' which include the minimum features for solving the specific customer problem. This minimum viable product is then tested with the potential users and customers to confirm that the objectives are achieved. This approach eliminates wasted time and resources by developing the product iteratively and incrementally and testing the 'minimum viable product' at the end of each iteration.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Agile-Development-Diagram.jpg

Agile Development

 

 

In conclusion, the Lean Start-up approach has the emphasis on nimbleness and speed and aims at reducing the cost of failure by the inbuilt mechanism of feedback and course correction at each stage.

 

New ventures can follow this approach to rapidly assemble minimum viable products and elicit customer feedback. This customers input is continuously used to revise their assumptions and then go through another development cycle, testing redesigned offerings and making further small adjustments (iterations) or more substantive ones (pivots) in case of ideas that are not working.

 

We at Evon Technologies have gained extensive experience in the above approach over the past eight years by working with many Start-ups. We can be a partner and service provider for Start-ups in their execution of the Lean Start-Up Model, by providing services in the following areas :

 

- Market Research

- Optimizing your Business Model

- Developing Market Requirements into Product Road-map

- Software Product Development and Quality Assurance

- Internet Marketing.

 

Learn More about Lean Startup Methodology : http://theleanstartup.com/#principles

 

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