At iTexico.com, an Austin mobile app company with a heavy emphasis on nearshore services, agile software development is part of the daily grind. Different teams of developers and designers complete their assigned tasks while project managers meet with customers to update them on progress. The agile model is one that has proved itself well for software development. It has proved so successful that the agile concept has gone mainstream, applied to everything from engineering to hardware manufacturing.
Agile software development actually got its start back in 2001 when more than a dozen of America’s top software developers got together to talk about the future of development. From that February meeting came the ‘Manifesto for Agile Software Development’, a document that would lay the groundwork for a new way of looking at the decades-old question of how to meet client needs without compromising quality or budget.
Today, the agile concept is seen as pretty mainstream in the business world. Going mainstream has meant both good and bad for the original thinkers who came up with agility. It’s good in the sense that mainstream adoption offers some measure of proof that their ideas were legitimate. It’s bad in the sense that the agile concept has been misunderstood, misappropriated, and even polluted to some degree over the years.
In short, the agile concept in 2016 is not what it was in 2001. So where does that leave agile software developers?
Stay True to the Roots
The misappropriation of the agile concept by business consultants and the senior executives of the corporate world should never be allowed to undermine the basic tenets of agility in the minds of software developers. Remember that agility as a development concept was put in place to make application development better. It is up to software development firms to stay true to the roots of the original manifesto in order to continue producing according to the principles it sets forth.
For example, one of the core principles of agile software development is flexibility. Teams of developers work in short spurts to produce incremental results they can show the customer. Customer feedback determines whether they move on to the next phase or spend time modifying the software in its current state. With every short spurt comes an opportunity to make any changes required by the customer.
If software developers lose sight of that flexibility and choose to plan everything out in advance, they are defeating the entire purpose of agile software development. It doesn’t matter if corporate boardrooms misunderstand agility or modify its principles to suit their needs, agility for the software developer must remain unchanged. Software firms should commit to staying true to it.
Customer Satisfaction Its Own Reward
The very first of the 12 principles that make up the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” is the ultimate goal of satisfying the customer. Some 15 years after the manifesto was written, companies that practice agile development successfully have that very same goal. Not only that, they understand that customer satisfaction is its own reward above and beyond the fees charged for services rendered.
At iTexico, agile software development is a big part of what they do every day. Some of their competitors are agile, and others are not. But the end goal of all of them is the same: delivering what customers want on time and budget. The advantage companies like iTexico have is that the agile concept starts with customer satisfaction and works forward from there while waterfall development starts with design and, with any luck, ends with a satisfied customer.