Agile Teams Offer A Rapid Approach To Software For Start-Ups
What is one of the common themes about life inside a start-up business? Life moves extremely fast. When a young company suddenly finds their audience and people start getting interested then everything needs to accelerate.
Problems often arrive in operational procedures that are not ready to scale and customer service processes that are internal and only designed for a small number of interactions. When technology systems start failing, because of the rate of growth, then it can potentially kill that growth – how many times have you tried engaging with a hot new company and then found their service so slow and disappointing that you never return?
So start-ups really need supportive partners that can scale up quickly and support their growth journey. This is especially true inside the technology team because most start-ups have a considerable amount of technology as a foundation for their services.
But think about how technology projects were traditionally structured – and still are in many companies.
- An analyst needs to explore and define the business problem. What do you need the system to do, why, and how would the problem be best resolved?
- A programmer then needs to take the specification from the analyst and code the solution
- A QA or tester needs to check that the new code actually works as expected
- A code update needs to be arranged and scheduled with the support engineers – so the test platform can be migrated into production
- If there is a failure at any point in this process then it usually will need to return back to the start for the analyst to design a new solution
This is a tried and tested approach to building technology systems. Naturally, in big companies, this approach works and ensures that a project passes through the different stages only once each responsible person has checked and agreed the design.
But this is a slow process and if the analyst didn’t correctly understand the business problem then an entire system can be delivered that fails to do what was required – after weeks or months of effort.
Agile offers a different approach and is ideally suited to start-up companies that want to move fast, try new ideas quickly, and experiment with new solutions.
Agile is an iterative and incremental approach to building new software and systems.
The number of new features needs to be managed so the design and programming cycle can be managed in rapid “sprints” – typically one or two weeks. This means that the system can be updated every time a sprint is completed and each sprint includes the analysis, coding, and testing for an agreed set of functionality.
Naturally, only a small amount of change can be applied with each sprint, but the business users can prioritize their requests so the technology team can ensure that each newsprint keeps on delivering the most important requested changes. Naturally, if there is any point of failure during a sprint – even if it is on delivery of the new version of the system – then the system just needs to be returned to the stable version that was in place immediately before that sprint.
This approach can be applied to technology systems in organizations of any size, but it is particularly well suited to start-ups that want to experiment quickly with new ideas and scale their system rapidly. Creating a two-week sprint allows the entire system to be updated with new features twice a month – in contrast to the typical analyst-led approach where several months may pass just specifying problems for the programmers to work on.
If you are running a start-up and you need to scale up your systems rapidly then consider the use of Agile. It is trusted by organizations globally and it offers a rapid and regularly updated approach to software that can be dramatically more dynamic than traditional design processes.
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