When it comes to software development and the user experience, instant gratification comes to mind. The users want it; developers can provide it. The sooner the better, they say. Failure to produce results in a timely manner leads to unhappy folks on both sides of the fence and a project that may never come to fruition.
Agile Software Development (ASD) is a methodology that focuses on keeping code simple, testing often, and delivering functional bits of the application as soon as they’re ready. Building upon small client-approved parts as the project progresses—as opposed to delivering one large application at the end of the project—is the goal.
If your Agile project is not going well, help is on the way. Information Week commentator, Erik Weber, pinpoints four warning signs that your project has lost its agility and provides solutions to get back on track:
- Failure to “get done.” If it takes you longer than a few weeks to turn an idea into a ready-for-production feature, you are not Agile—full stop. You have to be producing completed, working, tested, potentially releasable product every few weeks.
- Failure to launch. If you haven’t actually released your software to production—and on to customers—for three or more months, you are missing the big picture. If you release a version of your product often, you can test the market often and make changes as needed.
- Scope stagnation. If the features you set out to build are the exact ones you end up building, you’re not getting all that you can out of Agile. It’s hard to get honest feedback on the product, and it’s hard to hear it. This is exactly the point. Agility accepts that we can’t possibly know everything up front, and so the best way to create the most valuable end product is to get that product into users’ hands as quickly and as often as possible, and then listen to them.
- Unhappy developers. If the people in product development are unhappy, something’s wrong with your Agile process—and it’s probably one of the three points above. Grow a culture where the people doing the work are central to the organization, and carefully feed this system to keep people happy. Happy people build great products.
For more advice on Agile Software Development, read the full Information Week article.
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