Which Agile is best for you?

Many of our clients have heard of Agile for software development, but some are confused as to what it is. They know it involves building software in stages, which is normally I good idea, but that’s hardly makes it a distinctive approach.

There are of course, many flavours of Agile, and we have our own at The Bridge…

In my view, for an approach (note it’s generally not referred to a as methodology) to be considered Agile, it must:

  1. Involve a phased approach
  2. Consist of working software right from the start
  3. Embrace change, and not attempt to define all the functionality of the software up-front
  4. Involve close and continuous collaboration between clients and developers

‘User Stories’, ‘Sprints’, ‘Scrums’, ‘Paired Programming’, ‘Velocity’ etc all have their place, and are features of successful variants of Agile.

It is not the same as prototyping, which is a common confusion. A prototype might certainly make sense when you need to test a concept with a small or minimal version of the ultimate system, but it need not involve (2) or (4) in the list above.

At The Bridge, we’ve adopted the four points above for our approach to Agile, but in addition we pay particular attention to feedback for the client on time spent, which of course equates to time to deliver, and cost.

This is particularly important because a concern that clients have with Agile is that they can’t budget a fixed cost up-front project, or if they do fix the budget, they can’t guarantee a complete set of requirements being delivered. Of the course, the difficulty/impossibility of defining a set of requirements up-front, that won’t change, is at the heart of the Agile approach, but the apparent open-endedness of the project is still a concern.

To provide more assurance, the feedback we provide to our clients is not just the progress of the project itself, but details of the activities, time used, category of work etc (essentially old-fashioned timesheets). As you’d expect, this is used for billing, but it goes beyond the concept of person-days, and helps both us and the client understand the ongoing nature of the project.

If you’d like to discuss your website or software development options with The Bridge, feel free to call Lawrence on 02 9993 3300 or email lawrence@thebridgedigital.com.au