At Issuetrak, we’re dedicated to developing a product that not only provides value to our customers, but that adapts to their evolving needs. In order to achieve this goal, our company uses an Agile ideology to drive our product development and to determine the most optimal, valuable updates to our software.
Not sure what Agile development is, or how it applies to Issuetrak as an organization? Read on and we’ll explain:
What is Agile Development?
In 2001, a group of software developers gathered at a ski resort in Utah. That meeting, and the resulting publication titled “Manifesto for Agile Software Development,” laid the groundwork for a new software development ideology combining elements from a number of already existing frameworks. These frameworks, such as Scrum, Extreme Programming, and Feature-Driven Development, use elements of the Agile ideology to inform their development methodologies.
These Agile frameworks stand in contrast to one of the more traditional software methodologies, the “waterfall model.” The waterfall model is a linear method of completing a development project that involves a series of steps: the team gathers product requirements from the customer, analyzes the information, creates an initial design, develops and codes the product, tests the results, and then completes the process by installing the product and following up with maintenance and support. In the waterfall model, the customer can provide the most input at the very beginning and the very end of the process but has less influence during the intermediary stages.
Agile, meanwhile, is an iterative and team-focused development approach. Agile emphasizes working closely with customers to continuously refine project requirements, quickly responding to change, and rapidly delivering results. Issuetrak applies Agile by using the Scrum methodology, which encourages working in short bursts or “sprints.” By delivering a tangible product to stakeholders at the end of these sprints, teams can quickly identify problems and easily make adjustments during the next sprint. Scrum also places a high value on the team, on collaboration, and on cross-functionality. Everyone works together in close proximity to achieve the common goal.
How does Agile help Issuetrak?
Adhering to an Agile ideology provides the Issuetrak development team (and the company as a whole) with a number of important benefits:
Greater Visibility: Agile gets stakeholders directly involved in projects and ensures that all team members are working together and collaborating. Agile’s emphasis on communication prevents confusion about who’s working on what.
Faster Turnaround: The fast-paced sprint schedule that Scrum provides keeps deadlines tight and makes sure there’s something to show for the team’s efforts every few weeks.
Easier Changes: The Scrum methodology encourages team members to constantly refine and reprioritize their product backlog (the list of “to-do” items for future sprints). This allows the team to easily schedule in edits, updates, and changes for the next iteration of the product.
Higher Quality Work: Focusing on a handful of tasks over a short period of time allows the team to work diligently and thoroughly on a few things, rather than spread themselves thin with a broad range of different focuses. Sprints also ensure that mistakes get caught quickly, improving the quality of the final product.
Focus on the Customer: Agile helps to prioritize the development of product features based on the needs of real users and the value each feature will provide to current and future users of the product. User feedback is essential -- Issuetrak gathers feedback through UserVoice, where customers and users of the product can request new features and changes to existing features within the product, as well as vote on other users’ suggestions.