At Lab651, our core focus is to reduce our customer’s time to market with vetted and proven software expertise. To do that, we need a framework to channel these concepts and exercise them in a meaningful and impactful way. Lab651 has exercised several different methodologies through the years to help us deliver quality software products to our customers. The success of these other methodologies/frameworks lives on a spectrum of good to bad, but success is oftentimes contingent on experiencing some degree of failure first. Some trial and error are what has ultimately landed us with the answer inside of the Agile methodology.
What Is the Agile Methodology
If you are reading this blog post, you are likely already familiar with Agile in some capacity. For those of you who are not, Agile, simply put, is an iterative approach to project management and software development. (Read our post on: What is Agile-Scrum Methodology?) Breaking it down even further, it is the idea that instead of looking at an incomprehensible giant wall and thinking “How are we ever going to build this, it looks impossible” we instead think “Ok, let’s start with this one brick here, and build from there”. This thinking not only allows you to accomplish what you might not otherwise, it also allows for a more proactive approach to issues instead of discovering a cornucopia of issues at the end of the project.
Using Agile lays out a clear and meaningful framework that enables us to have realistic and clear expectations for our customers. Since we implemented the Agile methodology we have seen a radical improvement in how we facilitate conversations and deliverables with our customers. We have seen these improvements largely because of the flexibility in the iterative process for which Agile advocates. It allows us to give more consistent updates in which we are not only able to verbally share with customers but also demo the new functionality that has been worked on throughout a sprint. In addition to consistent tangible deliverables, it has allowed for fewer bugs in the finished product. This is because each sprint ensures that we are not just iteratively moving forward with the product, but also iteratively testing functionality as we move things forward. Another asset granted by Agile is that it allows the customers we work with more flexibility to their unique vision of the product they want. Specifically, they can better conceptualize the actualization of their product as we work on it, and as a result, they can advocate for certain changes during the project. Not only are these changes possible during the project, but they offer minimal disruption to the development process because we are working iteratively. Without Agile such flexibility typically came at a large cost to time and resources because of the time between updates or the size of the updates.
We Have Happier Customers
Agile has transformed the way we interact with our customers in a positive and meaningful way. The Agile methodology has ultimately led to happier customers and left us as a better structured software company. Internally it has allowed us to be better communicators within our teams, and has given us the tools needed to be a better company. We have always excelled in our technical assets, but Agile has allowed us to further highlight our ability in software development. This is because not only does Agile allow for our customers to have a better vision and understanding of their completed product, but it gives us the needed flexibility to implement their ideas. More often than not, there is not a linear path to completion for software development. Software requires malleability in thinking and implementation, and Agile recognizes this. The iterative approach allows for our developers to better focus on what needs to be presently accomplished and eliminates the intimidation of an indomitable wall. And it gives us the confidence to know that we are implementing an accurate creation of what the customer envision. The Agile methodology has become a great asset in our tool box that allows us to further enhance our core focus.
As powerful a tool as agile currently is, it is not the final stop. Just like anything we are in a constant state of flux. Our curiosity drives us to continuously search for what can further improve our interactions internally and externally with our customers, and we won’t stop. We genuinely enjoy what we do and want to make sure our customers can share our enjoyment through successful projects. Agile is the methodology that we believe best amplifies our focus, but we will continue in our diligence to ensure that we utilize the best of the best for us as a company and for our valued customers.