4 Key Steps for ISVs to Implement Agile in Software Development

04 Dec, 2015
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It is often said that for an ISV, its core competency should be focused around how to build software. However, in today’s fast changing world, where everything changes at lightning speed, the core competency of ISVs should not be limited to just that. Instead it should be focused around understanding the market dynamics and being able to create an ecosystem that is highly efficient at making the best software solutions for that market.

On the other hand, ISVs should also realise that software development is not only about software, there are also processes, people, operations and several other constraints. One of the biggest challenges ISVs face is translating their vision into tangible needs and then converting those needs into requirements. Many ISVs, who are going through such phase wants to know how they can use Agile methodology for software development. ISVs, who are considering applying Agile for software development, should also take into account both the value driven as well as process driven aspects of Agile. Here we have listed few points on how ISVs can use Agile in software development.

1. Proper Sprint planning

Sprint is an important part of Agile and Scrum software development. Scrum is implemented through a series of Sprints. Sprint planning sessions are a great way to align the Scrum team to agree upon and focus on commonly understood goals. As a part of achieving this goal, teams can mutually fix upon a reasonable set of tasks for a 4-6 week sprint. Conducting scrum meetings on a daily or periodic basis would be a great way to keep everyone on track and to ensure that there are no hindrances or impediments along the way.

2. Open to changes

An ISV which wants to implement Agile for software development should focus on rolling out new changes and developments, as it matures and learns from market adoptions and fluctuations. When an ISV is agile enough to have the ability to move quickly with small but regular changes, at every point of product development life cycle, they are better equipped to improve their strategies and solutions and drive real business results.

3. Emphasize on burndown chart

As an ISV, it is very important to track and measure the contribution of each team. To do this effectively, ISVs should give importance to burndown chart, which is a set of previously agreed upon metrics that is used to measure the contribution of various teams towards achieving set business targets, which most commonly revolve around revenue. This encourages Agile teams to value results (in terms of revenue and profitability) over less useful metrics such as working hours or number of new features developed.

4. Plan Sprint review

Sprint reviews are ideal for every department in a software company to measure their progress with each other. Because there is so much interdependency between various departments of the business such as the management, sales and marketing, this kind of a review offers great insights into what worked and what didn’t. Sprint retrospective can be a great way to review everything that went well, areas that can be improved and the best ways to function together harmoniously.

It is quite evident now that Agile principles are extremely relevant to ISVs for software development. The goal should be for Agile teams on both sides to evolve into a smoothly integrated system, where everyone is working together to create a company that meets the real burning needs of the end users.

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Anirban Guha
Software Engineer at coMakeIT

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