Welcoming Change Whilst in the Realm of Agile Software Development

One of the most difficult principles of Agile Software Development to actually implement is the principle of welcoming change. Two of the statements of values in the Agile manifesto are:

  1. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  2. Responding to change over following a plan

Both of these statements lead to the idea that Agile Software Development welcomes changes from customers and other stakeholders in the project. The Software Development team aims to gather feedback by developing frequent releases through developing the software in a series of iterations. A customer, changing their minds concerning the requirements of a project, isn’t viewed as a problem, which can be in sharp contrast to how a lot of methodologies approach the topic of requirements changing. This incorporation of feedback and customer involvement is an important contribution to the success of Agile methodologies as it leads to the development of software that customers really want. Following this principle is no easy task because the application of this principle needs to start at the very beginning of a project. Guides to implementing Agile Software Development frequently mention the role of the executive sponsor, and other business oriented roles within a company which need to buy-in and support an initiative to introduce Agile Software Development. But in a Software Development company that develops bespoke software directly for customers, the business people in the company need to understand and stick to the principles of Agile Software Development likewise.

There may be support for Agile Software Development in a project of all members but the general perception amongst the business people is that it is one area which the developers do, and does not directly concern them. As much of the material available on Agile Software Development does specifically concern Software Development teams, that is quite an understandable assumption to make. In a company developing bespoke software, the client needs to be made aware of the nature of an Agile Software Development project, and a contract needs to be negotiated that is compatible with the chosen methodology. And it’s the business people who are associated with a project that usually hold the responsibility of setting the customer’s expectations for a project and negotiating the contract.

Customers not really acquainted with Software Development expect that when negotiating a new project with a Software Development company that the process is quite like purchasing almost every other goods and services. The client explains what they need, they agree a price together with a delivery date, and the customer then waits for it to be achieved. The Software Development company will not want to challenge these expectations for the fear of making a customer uncomfortable, and potentially losing their business. This often leads to a binding agreement that mirrors these expectations. The customer continues to expect that the software, by the release date, is going to be ready and do everything the customer wants, and they only need to wait.

However it is inevitable that the customer will need to provide feedback on the software and will be very keen to make some changes. In the above scenario the client is going to find themselves giving their feedback at a time towards the release date when they actually get to see the software.

These changes are unlikely to be very welcome to the Software Development company at this point. In practice these requests for changes results in friction between the customer and the Software Development company, possibly bringing about arguments between the company and the customer. The company will believe that these requirements wasn’t specified originally when the contract was signed and demand additional cash to implement these changes. If the customer agrees, a new contract will need to be negotiated. On the other hand the company may agree to do these changes for free given that the customer is without a doubt quite upset that the software does not do what the customer wants. The more often these changes are handled for free; the company gets closer to generating a loss on the project. In both of these scenarios, the project is sure to be late.

If the development team itself is trying to be Agile and is developing the project in iterations, the case is often improved through getting feedback from the customer earlier on in the project. But if the contract remains to be the same, these changes will still be unwelcome to the business people associated with the project. They will be seen as an extra expense and the developers are going to be instructed to extend the time on making these changes until a new or revised contract can be negotiated. Once the business people perceive that changes will be happening between iterations and that this needs addressing, they should recognise that a new approach will probably be required in future for making new contracts with customers. An effective option that they might choose is to try to break down the ‘development’ of the project into separate, ready planned phases and then make this the substance of the contract. This approach doesn’t challenge the customer’s expectations of being certain of the outcome of a project, and so it appears like a safe option. At the start of a project, a customer is frequently quite positive that they know what they aspire to. In practice, actually seeing and using the software might most likely make the customer consider the project in a whole lot more depth than they had previously.

This phased approach to making contracts is not going to solve the issue of welcoming changes and introduces new problems. When the first phase of the project completes, the customer gets to use the software for the first time and starts making requests for changes. As a consequence the next phase will have to be planned again. If the original phases were time estimated then the next phase will require a new estimation from the development team. And the business people will have to create a new contract for the next phase. Normally, this approach will demand a large administrative overhead for relatively small amounts of work. The customer can also be likely to get impatient over the length of time it takes just to get some more work done. More steps need to be taken to effectively develop within an iterative fashion.

In an ideal scenario, the people setting the customer’s expectations for the project would have bought in to the concept of Agile Software Development and grasp the principles involved. They would have the responsibility of also convincing the customer of these benefits and negotiating a contract that works well with their chosen methodology. Three typical customer expectations shall be challenged during this process:

  1. that they already know exactly what they want
  2. that they can be certain of what to expect at the end of the project
  3. that the Software Development company is exclusively responsible for the success of the project

To convince the customer that developing the project the Agile way is a good idea; the benefits need to be emphasised:

  • That they can change their minds if they want, when they want
  • Their changes will be incorporated in to their application quickly with minimal administrative overhead
  • They will not have to wait long to see their changes in the software
  • The application developed will be what they want it to be not now but what they want on the release date
  • They will have an important role in guiding the development of the project throughout its development

There are of course trade-offs for these benefits:

  • The customer can’t be certain what they are certain to get at the end of the project when signing the contract
  • The criteria for the success of the project will change with time and will not be stated explicitly in the contract as a detailed specification
  • The customer must take an enthusiastic role participating in the project. The project’s success all hangs on on the effectiveness of the collaboration between the customer and the Software Development team.
  • The customer will have to prioritise their changes, choosing which ones are developed first and which of them have to be dropped when necessary

A compatible contract will likely not state a detailed project plan, and make that plan a binding agreement for the Software Development company. General, advanced level requirements will be used as the success criteria for the project.

In return the contract will enable the customer to request changes to the project when the customer wants to. A formal definition of how changes are handled will be included in the contract. This definition will match the methodology used by the Software Development team. With most Agile methodologies this will mean that the development team will incorporate these changes in the next iteration following the change request from the customer. The contract will also not contain specific time estimations for high level requirements. It will instead contain an iteration schedule. A contract that welcomes change is a contract that does not have to be changed.

While the process described is known as change, this term doesn’t accurately describe the all that is taking place. A changing business environment can motivate changes in requirements but what is happening most often is the creation of new ideas for the software from both the customers and the development team. It is part of the creative process that makes the software and it is definitely something that ought to be welcomed.

Hiring a Software Development Company or an Employee

In today’s world, many companies are upgrading their internal software or have the intention to build some type of software application. Many executives ask the question: should we hire someone internally or hire a professional company to create us our solution? At first, hiring someone internally might seem to cost less than the project price quoted by a software development company. However, in the long run, the responsibilities, risks and time involved in hiring that employee can end up costing as much as three to four times what it would to have hired a software development company in the first place.

Let’s start by discussing the responsibilities involved in hiring a software developer. First, you have to consider the wage you want to pay the developer. Software developers on average range in salary from $40,000.00 to $140,000.00 a year depending on the market you are in and the experience the developer has. While in some industries hiring the less expensive choice makes sense, this route should be avoided here due to the fact that this individual will be solely responsible for the development within the company. Based on experience, a good developer with the skill set necessary in this scenario will cost no less than $80,000.00 a year, or $40.00 per hour. If you are hiring the developer for a three month contract, at $40.00 per hour, your total cost will be somewhere around $20,000.00. Most developers are looking for a six month contract minimally, so realistically you would have to commit $40,000.00 to the position. If you are hiring the developer as a full time employee, then you have to consider benefits such as insurance and retirement, which could increase this amount significantly.

Salary aside, the hiring process itself provides its own challenges. First, the manager has to have the experience to judge whether the developer is qualified for the job and worth the money they are asking for. This means the manager has to take the time to test potential candidates successfully and thoroughly in all aspects of architecture and programming, since the candidate will be solely responsible for the development project at hand. In this industry, personality is a small part of the process as many developers cannot be judged on their personality; oftentimes, developers are introverted and this makes it hard for them to express their capabilities verbally. Instead, you want to focus on their skill set – but if the manager or company interviewing said developer does not have the IT experience to do so, the likelihood that the hire will fail to meet the company’s expectations is great. Once the hiring process is complete, the company will have to setup a management process for the developer.

My experience has taught me that all developers require structure, discipline and more importantly a manager who has the knowledge and experience to guide the project the developer is working on. With that in mind, a manager has to take the time to create a life cycle for the project which should include a detailed functional specification of the project and a general knowledge of the programming environment being used to create the software. The consequences of not taking the time of creating a functional specification and having the knowledge to lead the developer through the development life cycle will most likely be that the software is not created to the requirements and specifications of the company, nor being completed on schedule. I can’t express enough the importance of a manager having the functional and technical knowledge to manage the developer. This doesn’t mean the manager has to be a programmer; in fact, the manager doesn’t need to know programming at all. They do, however, need an understanding of the software development life cycle, requirement documentation and timelines with regards to the programming environment and the software application itself. With that knowledge, the manager should be able to supervise all aspects of the project including testing. The amount of time a company has to commit to hiring a developer can be enormous and the risks of not devoting the right resources and management to a project and the hired developer are great.

The risks regarding management, or lack of, is one thing, but there are risks in hiring a developer outside of management. The most obvious risk is the chance that employee or contractor will quit or leave the company for whatever reason. Imagine you have a 3 month project that needs to be completed in 3 months with no leeway in scheduling and the developer responsible for the project quits or gets sick after only 1 month of development. At that point, the company has to go through the process of hiring a new developer again, and re-invest the time to review the infrastructure of the application and environment of the software with the new hire. It’s been my experience that a new developer can’t just pick up where an old developer left off. Why? It’s not just the developer’s skills that become an asset to a company, but his or her knowledge of the application; when the developer leaves, their replacement must first learn the application and get acclimated to the previous developer’s code before having the ability to actually work with it, which could take weeks depending on the complexity of the application, the quality of the code and the associated documentation. Another risk of hiring a developer comes with the company’s expectation of his or her performance. No matter how thorough your hiring process is, oftentimes you won’t know if a developer is good until he or she gets a job or task done. If a hiring mistake is discovered after the developer has completed a project for you, this could result in not only having to redevelop the software but revisit the hiring process, both of which have the potential to cost a company greatly in more than just dollars.

A good software development company will be able to assume the aforementioned responsibilities and risks associated with software development on behalf of the company. A software development company has already absorbed the risks of hiring and will have a management team in place that has the knowledge and experience to oversee the developers and creation of the software application. A software development company will also be able to distribute the knowledge of not only the project at hand but the business process itself to a team of developers and managers instead of a single person; because of this, the consequences of losing a hire are removed from the process.

Software development companies can be an excellent choice for creating a company’s technology solution provided they have a solid understanding of the company’s needs. Without a solid understanding and knowledge of the company’s core business processes and practices, it is very likely the completed application will not represent the best interests of the company. Many times, the greatest time commitment the client must assume is passing the knowledge of their business practices and needs to the software development company. Yes, hiring an internal employee can greatly reduce the amount of time needed for knowledge transfer as the employee will gain an understanding of the company by interacting with them in person on a daily basis. However, the right software development company for the job will already have experience working in the company’s industry, thus having much of the required knowledge already. This will not only decrease the time involved with acclimating the development company to the business, but will also allow the software company to be an active participant in developing the software and make recommendations based on their previous experience within the industry.

Overall, hiring an employee may seem an attractive option at first, yet the risks and time involved in hiring and managing that employee may outweigh the benefits if your company is not prepared to do so. Employing a knowledgeable, experienced software development company that has experience in the company’s industry may cost more than hiring a developer initially; however, over time, companies invested in IT as a long-term solution will find that choosing a relationship with a software development company rather than hiring an employee will be the more beneficial route to take.

Software Development Company

We are living in twenty-first century and around us every things rapidly change. Generally we listen that now train, bus, car, post office, banking and attendance system etc working as computerize. Normally all people trust on the automated system because this work according predefine functions and give result accurate, never tired and more reliable.

The soul of Computerize system is software. The custom software development is not a simple work. When we look any computerize system this work quite soft and easily but behind this a big mind work which developing by software engineer.

The Software development is long process and this developing step by step. When software engineers developing software he/she thought every aspect of the software such as…

Planning of the project: when a client wants to software development by software development company then first step of the project will be planning in step studying What problems may occur when develop this project.

Study of feasibility: in this step check the project may feasible or not. Project cost cover by client or not along with check estimate time of the project and in this field ensured this project may develop or not.

Design of the system: system designing is the most critical step of the project development. In this field all step mentioned who software work such as where data store, where data come & go, how where data and information display etc step cover in this field.

Coding: coding works performed by programmer and written according system design.

Implementation: normally big software develops in a number of the small software (program). Every program working checks in this step.

Software integration: now all program integrating and development a software.

Software testing: In this phase Developed Software is tested to assure that it works according to the client’s requirement. For a bug free and efficient application this step is very important. A lot of time is devoted in this step to make a foolproof application. This step insures the good character of software.

Installation: in this step software hand to client and all cost of software development received by client. The software install client computer.

Maintenance: maintenance work is tedious work because who person written code of the software is not available all time and maintenance work performs another person normally he/she confuse. When maintainer read all code then he/she can remove errors.

Now we can understand that software development is not a simple work. When client want to development of web software or custom software he/she notice software Development Company’s services history. Which software Development Company has long experience in the field of Software development services may be gold for clients because this has long experience technology. The software should be complete within time, complete within estimate cost and fulfill all requirements of the clients.

Software Development in India is not only cheap but also delivers good quality software. Indian Software Engineers are intelligent, dedicated and work for perfect ness. In India numbers of companies provide Offshore Outsourcing Software Development Services. These companies also provide web design, complete ecommerce Solution Services, CAD services, SEO services and Cheap Logo Design in India.

India’s Software Development Company mostly located in Delhi & NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and other places. Mostly IT companies in India provide offshore outsourcing software development services.