Software development methodologies have changed significantly in recent years, giving business owners increased scope within their outsourced IT projects.
Historically the majority of IT outsourcing projects were run using the waterfall model. This is a sequential design process where a detailed technical specification is shared with the outsourced development team. The development team then work through phases of analysis, design, construction and testing using appropriate technologies or architecture. This is a much more structured and rigid process than Agile software development, which is increasingly being favoured.
Common components of Agile software methodologies include Scrum, Lean Development and Extreme Programing. Typically the project evolves through the collaborative efforts of the team working on it. The methodology incorporates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement. This is all highly beneficial for businesses because it encourages rapid and flexible response to change which can in turn speed up project completion to a high standard.
Whilst both methodologies still allow for the outsourcing of development of the IT projects, the new Agile software development methodology allows for improvements in both quality and technical delivery. Below we outline 4 key points which make Agile methodologies preferable.
The Agile method promotes regular communication via daily scrums, with delivery of phases of the project happening on a sprint basis, allowing for regular updates on progress. With the advent of numerous high-tech online conferencing facilities, as well as Skype, it is now possible to hold meetings with teams based across the world.
Regular code reviews and refactoring are built into the Agile process. Together with the concept of mobbing and pair programming, this can promote better quality of code.
The Agile project management process uses burndown charts which provide a transparent view of the status of the project for the whole team. Sprint iteration and team velocity mean that it is far easier to ascertain the estimated completion time for tasks within the various sprints. When used with burndown charts, the team will be alerted far sooner to any issues and will discover if things aren’t going to plan.
- Customer Satisfaction
Agile development works well when the customer understands the value of this methodology, and so a solid partnership is built. This is why it is vital for the service provider to educate the customer about the methodology at every step of the project. Agile software development lends itself to customer satisfaction because they are able to see the output in the small chunks of each sprint delivery. The service provider should also offer detailed feedback during the development process. This will mean that there are no surprises at the end of the project, because the customer has been involved at every stage of the lifecycle of the offshore product development.
In conclusion, it is clear to see that there are significant benefits to the implementation of Agile software methodology for IT outsourcing projects.
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