Agile Product Engineering: Best Practices for ISVs and Startups

11 Apr, 2023
Xebia Background Header Wave

Agile has been touted as the most suitable software development methodology for building today’s digital solutions. Its undeniable success took it to other departments like sales, marketing, HR, and the entire software business methodology. Later, it grew out of the methodology into a mindset, with values that can be imbibed and followed at work and at life in general. It is no surprise that the Agile mantras are good for ISVs and Startups too. Here’s how and why it is so good for them.

ISVs and startups, no doubt, should concentrate on their product-building capabilities. That is what their ideas and goals depend on, however, their expertise in building products is not enough to guarantee them success. They need something more.

Software development requires an understanding of processes, people, opportunities the market presents, and constraints. The methodology that gradually leads to this understanding without being too overwhelming is Agile. Agile helps businesses gauge market requirements and responses and lets us test the waters before venturing deeper and broader to conserve resources. It simplifies software development, operations, and the final deliverables or software products.

Agile can help you align your vision with market needs and customers.

The vision of ISVs as well as start-ups should coincide with the needs of the market. Or it can be totally new, ground-breaking, and unanticipated by others in the ecosystem. Either way, users should be given time to accept and try out new ideas, test the system for errors, and fine-tune it to create continuously the best possible software solutions. A thorough market analysis is essential to define the product roadmap.

Despite all these measures, markets and technologies may evolve faster than our product offerings. Sticking to a frozen product plan or strategy and following it meticulously doesn’t guarantee success. Moreover, it might make our products inappropriate for markets and customers. It makes sense to review our vision, strategies, and requirements. Our methodologies should allow it.

Agile makes software products and platforms open to changes. Time is not wasted in incorrect speculations and documentation, but constructively used in building products incrementally, thus aligning them with the vision.

Translate your vision into requirements and implement them using Agile Methodologies

The vision of a company defines its product and service offerings. It then is translated into requirements. The requirements are best fulfilled in Sprints and delivered in small but frequent upgrades. It is possible to change requirements if needed even at later stages of development.

Hence, working in Sprints makes businesses better equipped to improve their strategies and solutions to achieve good business results.

Whether teams are cohesive, distributed, Remote, or Hybrid – Clear communication is a must.

The Agile methodology encourages collaboration between employees working in business and technology. The teams are largely self-organized and comprise motivated individuals. Such self-organizing teams customize architectures and designs to fit their specific requirements.

Planned communication during regular stand-up meetings ensures clear and timely communication between the team members so everyone understands the developments, customizations, changes, and hence the purpose behind their work.

Retrospection – The humbling as well as an inspiring step

After each sprint, Agile teams meet to review and retrospect their processes and outcomes. They analyze what went well, what didn’t, and why. Such retrospection helps businesses improve the quality of their deliverables.

Apart from the business outcomes, these processes keep businesses, teams, and individuals grounded. Yet, by clearly showing them ways to improve, they also motivate and make goals more reachable and hence the journey enjoyable.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Agile metrics revolve around teams and their outcomes. The outcomes may be value added or the processes simplified. These outcomes matter the most, not mundane data like hours spent, or even features added. Agile is about delivering what the customers need or like. Such clarity despite changing requirements simplifies both software development processes and the design of final products too.

Though a lot of advantages are about Agile as a methodology, Agile is much more than that. Doing Agile is not enough. “Being Agile” is much better, for businesses as well as individuals, at work and in life.

Though initially assumed to work better only in teams that can meet face-to-face, Agile has been successful in helping businesses evolve as per the changing conditions. Many businesses like coMakeIT, have been successfully following its principles even in distributed teams. Businesses that responded to the market’s needs faster, especially during the Covid-19 lockdowns, vouch for the success of Agile in any kind of team with clear communication channels.

Are you looking for transforming your software development and build resilient products? Do you also believe Agile is a kind of ideology and not just a methodology? Let’s talk further.

Divya Prathima
The author was a java Developer at coMakeIT before turning into a stay-at-home-mom. She slowed down to make art, tell stories, read books on fiction, philosophy, science, art-history, write about science, parenting, and observe technology trends. She loves to write and aspires to write simple and understandable articles someday like Yuval Noah Harari. We are very happy to have her back at coMakeIT and contribute to our relevant and thought provoking content.

Get in touch with us to learn more about the subject and related solutions

Explore related posts