Lean start-ups by nature want to minimize risk and maximize output from the off. Get going and get selling...
Ok, so it may not be a 'secret' as such, but we believe that small businesses and start-ups can get out of starting blocks and gain a competitive edge through flexibility. This article is about how agile software development works, and why it could give you the flexiblity you need to succeed.
Being flexible to consumer demand
The essence of a lean start-up is to avoid chasing large, up-front finance, and focusing instead on getting your product or idea to market, and then responding to demand. You don't necessarily have a crystal clear idea of what you will be doing a year later, so you need to have room to manoeuvre.
The following quote may be taken from a Wikipedia article on Eric Ries and the lean start-up, but the sentiment stands:
'Ries claims that despite the many proximate causes for failure, the most important mistake was that the company's "vision was almost too concrete," making it impossible to see that their product did not accurately represent consumer demand.'
Your product may need to evolve, respond to the market, and grow as your customer base grows. So how can we help? We think agile development works well for lean start-ups...
Being flexible to software demands with agile development
At Eastpoint Software , we work with customers to discuss both the long term vision but also what needs to be done in the short term to achieve goals.
We are fond of the agile process, which involves working in 'sprints' to complete work in stages, rather than committing to an entire project outright and then building it. This means you can adapt the overall plan as you go, rather than sticking rigidly to a theoretical idea that might not pan out or might need changes along the way.
This agile process can work very well for start-ups and small businesses, because you work towards a long-term vision, but only focus on what is important for that stage of the project.
Working with you
Our team will work with the software product owner to understand long term aims and help identify shorter term objectives, to enable clients to take a product to market rapidly, test user feedback and evolve into later versions.
We are fully on-board with the the lean start-up philosophy and we have processes and methods to support that.
Working with us
We want your start-up to succeed and think it is important to maintain frequent, transparent communication, combined with technical expertise, including project management, programming, user interface design, testing and all our knowledge to give you the best possible start.
Smaller companies, and companies just starting out, often have different priorities and needs compared to established or larger companies. It is important to work with a software development company who understand this – and we do.
We apply the same high standards to all our work and have plenty of software solutions for small businesses and lean start-ups, whatever the budget.
Give us a call on 01223 690164 to discuss agile software development.
Eastpoint Agile Software Development Services and Project Management Company in Cambridge. If you want maximum flexibility and regular progress reviews during software development, adopting an agile methodology could work best you. Agile methodologies focus on collaboration between the client and the developers, completing work in stages and adapting and fine-tuning work as the process continues. It is a popular method of working as it provides so much flexibility, and therefore, perhaps most importantly, it ensures as the development team learns more about the specifics of the project, it can adapt easily.
The team that originally proposed agile presented it as having come to value:
Individuals and interactions (over processes and tools)Working software (over comprehensive documentation)Customer collaboration (over contract negotiation)Responding to change (over following a plan)More info can be found at the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
How does agile work?
Agile can be interpreted and implemented in different ways, but typically the idea is to have an integrated, multi-discipline team working on a project or system based on the customer's needs, but without the weeks or sometimes months of planning involved with a more traditional approach.
After a quick turnaround of about two weeks, typically working on a small aspect of a larger project, the work is taken to the client for feedback, and this feedback is then incorporated into the next two weeks of work, and so on. This approach does not mean work is erratic or purely speculative – it requires skilled, disciplined, knowledgeable developers and continual product testing.
The client is fully engaged throughout the project, providing decision-making and domain-guidance throughout – ensuring they are well aware of what's being created at all times.
What are the benefits?
Being agile allows you to refine and adapt your plan as you go along, rather than working to the letter on a pre-defined plan that will often need to change anyway.
Since work is delivered in stages, any unforeseeable problems with the requirement or the implementation are picked up early. For a customer embarking on a large development project, is typically means greater visibility throughout the work, and, generally, leads to a more effective development relationship.
Is agile for us?
Agile methodologies allow for a much quicker start and frequent presentations to client – work is expected to evolve and clients will be part of this process, rather than just seeing an end product. But this work in progress approach is not for everyone, and not all customers will need to, of have the time to, collaborate on an ongoing basis.
Agile processes are not necessarily quicker on the whole than a traditional plan and build, but they do allow for greater flexibility which reduces project risk and may well save time in the long run.
Why use Eastpoint?
We are experienced with agile project management, both working within an existing team or taking on a project ourselves. Three essential parts of our company culture enable agile to work: our clarity of communication; our transparency; our focus on quality. These help to break down the barriers between the customer and the development team.
Eastpoint Software use proven development methods mixed with creativity and both emerging and established technologies to give your business the best possible product. Our creative but disciplined coding, testing and implementation ensures that you end up with the software product that you need.