2 Ways Agile Can Speed Up Your Application Delivery
Almost all IT project managers focus on building or improving applications. Organizations rely on reliable and high-quality applications to serve clients and maintain operations. If you are in the software business, this article is for you. Here we will dive into the application delivery context and explain how you can use agile to speed up this process.
The purpose of the project
In most cases, the purpose of a project is to build a new application to take advantage of a trend (e.g. building a mobile app for a smartphone). In some cases, the team may be appointed to upgrade, or maintain a project. Upgrade projects are sometimes less exciting to work on. However, you can engage the team by emphasizing the benefits of the project (e.g. system failure, no more support or a lot of support tickets). Even if the purpose of the project is familiar, focus on the why of your project.
There are 3 broad types of application delivery projects. In some cases, your project may be a mix of these categories. In those cases, remember to prioritize your project priority.
- Create a new application: To create a brand new application is one of the greatest challenges in application production. The advantage of new application delivery projects are the chances and potential to make an impact. But also, there is a challenge to gather requirements and effectively test a brand new application. Examples of a new application delivery include creating a new application from scratch and implementing an application in your organization (e.g. adapting Drupal, or AWS Cloud to your organization).
- Improve an existing application: Delivering slow, but constant improvements to existing applications are the focus of this type of project. The biggest advantage to this category is the reduced uncertainty compared to a brand new application. By doing this, your project may use special tools to connect existing applications together for better performance.
- Fulfill regulatory requirements: Governments around the world are creating new regulations and applying more resources to enforcement. Some European countries recently introduced the anti-spam law that caused banks, automobile dealerships, and many other organizations to launch projects to review their electronic marketing programs. As more products are delivered through applications, governments will continue to demand changes to an organization’s applications.
1. Improve application delivery by client interaction
In the classical approach, the project manager and project team might work with the client closely at the beginning of the project for planning and requirements. At that stage, the project team acts to build the new application and then seeks formal approval and acceptance from the client. During the entire project, the contract is used as a reference document to handle disputes and disagreements. While contracts are valuable and essential, they are not a replacement for a robust working relationship.
In application development projects, you can improve your results by placing greater emphasis on client collaboration. Here are 2 ways you can incorporate this principle into your projects:
- Ask for client ideas. Many project managers and application gurus get the advantage in their skills and knowledge. In some cases, this capability translates into pretension. The agile approach to client collaboration reminds us to seek ideas and approaches from the client. When the client is actively involved in contributing a new idea, features, and functionality to the application, they are more likely to approve the results.
- Use the minimum viable product. In this approach, your project team offers a minimal list of features to the client as soon as possible. In many cases, a client is able to provide much more detailed feedback based on a prototype, vs reviewing a project document.
2. Define short-time frames for deliverables
Managing schedule at the project level and team member time are must-have skills for project managers. The agile approach inspires the project managers and schedulers to reconsider our schedule approach. In essence, frequent delivery of small deliverables produces better results.
Here we give several suggestions for applying the agile approach to time management to your application delivery project:
- Recognize the morale benefits: The greater results and feedback from rapid delivery improve the team morale. Rather than exerting in dimness, the project team will receive validation from the stakeholders. In the case of problems, those problems will be detected while they are still small and easy to manage.
- Reformulate your definition of working software: In the agile approach, consider releasing a version of the software with 2 features to a small group. This approach will bring you 2 benefits – the client will give you a better feedback, and have the opportunity to achieve results with the software.
- Adopt 2-week deadlines: Design your work assignments to have a maximum duration of two weeks is a very good practice.
Building better relationships with your stakeholders and clients will bring you numerous benefits, including better products. Also, shorter deliverable time periods mean more feedback and improved morale for the team. Creating updates and improvements to your applications can become much more efficient and fast with the agile project management.