Need a software application made? Worried how much it might cost? You really want to make sure your best ideas are included in a budget you can afford? No problem.
The traditional method of managing software projects, which has been well-established for many years, is the “waterfall” approach, it’s a risky and expensive way to build software systems. Waterfall can be characterised by the writing of a big, up-front specification and then sticking to that until the final system is handed over to the client.
A study in the United Kingdom showed that of 1,027 projects, 87% did not succeed. Waterfall-style scope management was the “single largest contributing factor for failure, being cited in 82% of the failed projects as the number one problem.” (Craig Larson – Agile and Iterative Development: a Managers Guide; published by Addison-Wesley Professional).
The problem with waterfall based projects and why such a high percentage fail, is that the methodology is inflexible and lacks transparency. The waterfall approach expects a client to know 100% of their requirements up front and doesn’t allow them to change their minds easily. At Corporate Interactive we understand this is not the reality of real world IT projects; requirements are discovered along the way and change is inevitable.
Agile Software Development positively encourages client involvement and embraces change, all within a structure that allows fixed price and fixed timelines.
Agile software development is a proven methodology for managing projects successfully. It provides many advantages over traditional project methodologies such as:
Flexibility to change requirements – complete flexibility to add, delete, update any requirements
Regular known deliverables – see your software as it is built
High levels of client involvement and visibility – after each sprint you are positively encouraged to use the system and provide feedback on the project direction
Fixed budget, fixed timeline – as each sprint is a fixed length period we can agree up front how many sprints we will run and therefore how long the project will take and how much it will cost.
Overall reduced risk – all the above combined means less risk for you in every aspect of your software development project
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The initial phase involves spending a reasonable amount of time with the key stakeholders to map out a detailed list of all project requirements or user stories. “User stories” are just a fancy term for concise plain English requirements. They provide a common language for Corporate Interactive and the client to communicate in; you won’t find any technical jargon here!
Once the initial set of user stories are agreed the work is prioritised into what is known as a backlog. This is literally the backlog of work to be done, however the key point is that the backlog is prioritised.
At this point the project is ready to enter the development phase which consists of a number of short development cycles or “sprints”, within each sprint we:
To simplify the requirement prioritisation process we use a system known as “MoSCoW rating”. This is simply an acronym and allows you to categorise your requirements into four groups: