Increasing responsiveness to custom software development
Several professional services clients relied on custom-developed technology solutions. Over time, this platform had grown hard to maintain. With every new feature added, more development and testing time was required. As a result, clients were growing dissatisfied with the amount of time it took professional services to implement new features or update business rules to keep pace with changes in their programs. One client, threatened to move their business elsewhere when the current contract ended in less than a year.
A complete rebuild of the platform was needed to increase the flexibility to build custom features demanded by clients in their required time frames.
The development process had historically been a “waterfall” process, where all business requirements were specified before work began. Development was worked on sequentially until it was complete and then tested. From a clients’ point of view, there was a long wait with little visible progress.
An agile development process was introduced to allow the clients to provide input into the features every step of the way.
The change to the agile process was timed with the development of the new technology platform. A separate team was set up with a mix of new agile-experienced and existing talent for knowledge transfer and training. Of critical importance, the scrum master was hired from outside based on extensive experience in setting up agile projects.
Communication with employees from the leader of the division occurred regularly, including the KPIs that would measure the success of the project.
The beauty of agile is that demos of completed features could now be shown every two weeks in the six-month project. This allowed every iteration to result in functionality that could be reviewed by the end users so they could influence the design.