Buzzwords seem to be more popular in the IT industry than perhaps any other. Usually they’re thrown about to sound informed, or in marketing campaigns to attract attention. A number of more recent ones come to mind off the top of my head: the cloud, virtualization, social software, big data, and Web 2.0. But perhaps one of the most popular in the last few years centers on software development methodology: Agile Development.
What does it mean when a software company says they are Agile?
For many Agile Development means that they’ve adopted one of the systems that are widely used: Extreme Programming (XP), Scrum, Rational Unified Process, etc. These methodologies dictate fairly strict guidelines on how a software development team should be structured, function, and interact with end users. The level to which a company follows one of these systems varies, and honestly, I can say that we currently practice a bit of each. However, I like to think that being Agile goes beyond just following a set of guidelines for development. For us, it means a lot more when we say we use Agile Intranet Software Development.
Since the inception of Intranet Connections, one of our key differentiators has always been customer service. We keep in close contact with our customers and make an effort to satisfy the unique requirements that each of them present. We regularly hold enhancement request meetings to see how feature requests can fit in with our product roadmap. More often than not, these requests feed directly into our Agile development methodology, and are delivered to those who originally requested them in short order.
Additionally, bug fixes are always a top priority and are fixed within our Agile Development process before development on new product features continues. We all know what it’s like to open a support issue with many software vendors where it takes weeks, if not months to get any kind of resolution. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness to customer support issues.
The technology used to manage internal processes itself is of the utmost importance. Over the last few years, we’ve adopted new integrated development environments (Eclipse), a new code source control system (Kiln/Hg), development bug tracking software (FogBugz), database source control (RedGate), sales management (SalesForce), support ticketing (ZenDesk), bug capturing (qTrace), and the list goes on. Having the right tools and the knowledge to leverage them allows us to become more efficient at what we do. On top of that, we’re constantly trying to automate processes where possible: software packaging, update delivery, purchase & renewal, and more.
As time passes, new technologies are born and others grow stale. This happens at an alarming rate in the software industry. Those who are successful are good at recognizing where things are heading and jump on Agile changes quickly.
For those who’ve been on the Intranet Connections platform for a number of years now, you can attest to the technological advancements that have happened with the product. From fairly static HTML, CSS, and JS to dynamic user interfaces using jQuery, Backbone.js, and AJAX; we’ve come a long way to deliver a rich intranet software application. In the back end, we’ve built a middle logic tier that never existed before, and have extended beyond standard relational database design into object & semantic design principles. This is most evident in our newest release of FormBuilder.
Agile Mind = Agile Product
As you can tell, being Agile means a lot more than following an Agile Development Methodology. At Intranet Connections, we live an agile environment, in every part of our business. It isn’t just a methodology; it’s a mindset, to be open to change and growth in every facet of your business.
So, the next time a software company tells you they’re Agile dig a little deeper than the buzzword and find out what that Agile truly means to their business.
image source: http://blog.utest.com/tips-for-transitioning-to-agile-development/2013/01/