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Cloudsail's Agile Software Development Approach

We live in a fast-moving world, making it paramount for businesses to be well-armed and prepared to keep up with the pace. Imagine working on a project for an entire year, only for it to disappoint in the end. Perhaps, by the time you are done with the software development project, technology has advanced, and customer needs have changed.

Your software becomes outdated even before it gets to the market. In such a case, you have to bury your dream, and if you decide to launch the software, the returns will undoubtedly be lesser than what you had in mind at the start of the project.

This is a project that you have envisioned for months or even years. You have put in time, money, and resources, hoping to reap big from it. But it fails to deliver, mainly due to time factor.

This is where agile project development comes in to save you from time and money wastage while ensuring that your software delivers as it should.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management is also referred to as an iterative approach. The methodology allows you to manage your project by breaking it into several cycles or phases called sprints.

Each of the sprints involves collaboration with stakeholders. It would help if you also incorporated customer feedback at every stage for insights to help you come up with the best end product. Constant collaboration is crucial, both for you and the stakeholders.

Agile project management aims to help developers move fast and easily. The approach provides software developers with essential tools to help them think fast and clearly, thus making project management flexible and efficient.

The History of Agile Project Management

Agile project management dates back to the 1990s during the application development crisis. There was an extensive lag time during this period, which could go up to three years between the time a company needed an application and the actual software delivery time.

By the time of application delivery, the technology has changed, and so have the customer needs. Consequently, most applications didn't deliver as expected, despite the high development cost. The results were frustrating, both to the affected businesses and to the software development sector.

Furthermore, the traditional software development approach didn't create room for flexibility. The software developers couldn't make changes in between project development. If they made an error, they had to start the process from scratch.

In the process of finding a solution to speed up the software development process, 17 development leaders came together and thought of the agile manifesto, which changed how projects were managed. The idea has since then transformed software development for the best and has managed to outshine other approaches.

Why Agile Project Management?

The main attributes that make agile delivery stand out among other approaches are flexibility, adaptability, transparency, and customer focus.

Agile embraces collaboration among concerned parties, which calls for transparency in how the teams communicate and work.

In Agile project management, the developers share their progress in different stages. They use Kanban boards to share information, allowing their peers to view and understand what they are doing and why each process is necessary.

Moreover, every team member is free to share ideas. Ideally, Agile embraces unity where everyone owns their mistake, and team members work together towards the best resolution before the issue escalates.

Even better, agile project management adapts to customer feedback to determine if developers are on the right track. Customers are not interested in your solution. They are only interested in knowing if what you offer can solve their problem. Therefore, if your software doesn't meet their expectations or solve their problem, they won't use it.

Agile project management ensures that customer needs are understood via constant collaboration, an attribute that you will barely find in other software development approaches.

Agile software development creates room for changes. You don't have to wait until completion to test the software. You can test it after each phase and make changes where need be, thus saving time and money without leaving chances of error in the end product.

Our Agile Software Development Approach

At Cloudsail, we do software development in sprints, each with a duration of 2 to 4 weeks. Our goal is to offer error-free software that meets your customers' needs.

The best part is that we are flexible. We will work with the best approach depending on your specific needs. Our delivery approach involves four phases or sprints, as follows;

We Envision Your Project

We first listen to your needs to understand precisely what you want to offer your clients. In this phase, we create a vision for your project while considering what the software should do and who it is supposed to help.

With such information, we can quickly come up with a way to fulfill those needs. At this stage, we brainstorm different ideas to help us develop software that will deliver value. Later in the development stage, we may either stick with those ideas or discover better ones.

The bottom line is, we cannot embark on working on your project without a vision of what we expect to deliver at the end.

In the envisioning phase, we;

  • Develop user research based on the information we collect from our client
  • Come up with software features
  • Develop a project overview document
  • Prepare a draft and plan of our development approach
  • Create visual design

We also envision the team players to be involved in the project, from project managers to stakeholders and customers. They all have something to contribute, and before we start the project, we come up with an inclusive plan on how all team players will work together.

We Speculate

Speculation, in this case, is another term for brainstorming and collaboration. Now that we have an idea of how you want your end product to be, we can brainstorm ideas based on creative thinking while allowing all team members to share ideas on how the project should progress.

The speculation phase involves planning for the future of software development while considering what's achievable and what's beyond your reach. We also create room for changes in the course of action where needed. This is where adaptability in the agile project management approach comes in compared to other predictive approaches.

The team members work together to obtain the preliminary requirements for the software development and create a draft of the workload, including a list of software features. We then create a time frame that includes the expected release date and the milestones.

We schedule allocations for every software feature. We strive to complete each sprint within two to four weeks, so you can trust that we will meet deadlines for your ideal software release date.

At the speculation stage, we plan for risk mitigation. The aim is to deliver within the agreed time frame without compromising the quality of the product. Therefore, we must have a plan to avoid problems and how to handle those issues fast if they occur unexpectedly.

Again, we collaborate with all team members to come up with the most effective risk mitigation method.

Most importantly, we come up with a cost estimate. We consider your needs and budget to offer the most affordable offer.

Explore Phase

This phase focuses on the product features. We want to ensure that we deliver each of the listed features in its optimum functioning state.

We develop wireframes that showcase the layout of the software. This step is critical to help us create an accurate architectural and visual design of the application.

We then create the visual design which represents the user interface of the software. Visual design focuses on the arrangements, colors, contrasts, shapes, illustrations, and shapes of the elements.

The exploration phase features three main principles;

  • Managing the workload and using the risk mitigation strategies to deliver the listed product features
  • Embracing collaboration and sharing responsibilities to ensure fast delivery
  • The project manager manages how team members interact with customers, stakeholders, and other involved parties.

Iteration

This is where we begin to work on your project development. At this stage, we meet with our client to summarize all the arrangements and results of the envisioning and exploration stages.

We strive to offer the best customer service, and we believe it's only possible with good communication.

Together, we create a comprehensive development plan and a backlog for the various sprints. We decide on which sprint or feature to work on first as we kick off with the project.

This is where every team member is assigned a task. When assigning tasks, we consider the skills, experience, and specialty of different team members. We want everyone to maximize their potential in whatever they are expected to do and ensure that the results align with your goals.

The tasks are moved to the sprint backlog, and we give you as the product owner the opportunity to select backlog items for every sprint and leave us to decide how we will share the tasks to meet your requirements.

We value your time, so we make our sprint meetings short, 15 minutes at most. The daily scrum meetings take place at set times and locations to avoid confusion, so none of the team members are left out.

We have a scrum master to precide over the meetings and manage how we collaborate to bring out the best in each development team player.

The sprint meetings focus on discussing the tasks that have been completed and what's to be done next. The team members get a chance to share any issues or roadblocks that could be hindering their progress.

Development

The final phase is development. After deciding the tasks to handle in the first sprint, the team gets to work on all the tasks in the sprint backlog. At the endline, which is after two to four weeks, the team members come together for a review meeting.

This is where we demonstrate the software increment to you and other stakeholders. Your job is to review the product to confirm if all the requirements from the sprint backlog were met.

If we miss anything, which we rarely do, the tasks are moved back to the product backlog and handled in the next sprint.

After review, we hold a separate retrospective meeting with the development team. The meeting focuses on the team's needs and how that can improve how they work together. The team members reflect on how things have been in the completed sprint and raise ideas on improving the next one.

We then embark on the next sprint, and the cycle continues until we are done with all the tasks on the product backlog.

Our development team doesn't rest until they meet the sprint deadlines. We believe that short sprints help us deliver the best product because the period allows us to get fast feedback, and in return, we stay in line with agile principles.

We treat every sprint as an independent project. This mindset pushes us to deliver the most functional features.

Contact Us for All Your Agile Software Development Needs

Cloudsail is your go-to provider for quality software development. We can work under pressure and still exceed your expectations. We set short sprints to help us work more efficiently. And worry not; if our team can't complete all the tasks set for a sprint, we are open to changes to make the sprints longer to avoid errors.

Our approach combines agile and traditional project management methodologies, which allows us to accommodate all kinds of clients regardless of their needs.

We offer follow-up services, and as the project evolves, we continue to expand our team to meet its demands. We work closely with you to answer any queries you may have about the software. We also encourage you to gather feedback from your customers to give us insights into developing better solutions.

Contact us for your upcoming software development project, and let's discuss how we can help you bring your vision to life.