Welcoming Change Whilst in the Realm of Agile Software Development

One of the most difficult principles of Agile Software Development to actually implement is the principle of welcoming change. Two of the statements of values in the Agile manifesto are:

  1. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  2. Responding to change over following a plan

Both of these statements lead to the idea that Agile Software Development welcomes changes from customers and other stakeholders in the project. The Software Development team aims to gather feedback by developing frequent releases through developing the software in a series of iterations. A customer, changing their minds concerning the requirements of a project, isn’t viewed as a problem, which can be in sharp contrast to how a lot of methodologies approach the topic of requirements changing. This incorporation of feedback and customer involvement is an important contribution to the success of Agile methodologies as it leads to the development of software that customers really want. Following this principle is no easy task because the application of this principle needs to start at the very beginning of a project. Guides to implementing Agile Software Development frequently mention the role of the executive sponsor, and other business oriented roles within a company which need to buy-in and support an initiative to introduce Agile Software Development. But in a Software Development company that develops bespoke software directly for customers, the business people in the company need to understand and stick to the principles of Agile Software Development likewise.

There may be support for Agile Software Development in a project of all members but the general perception amongst the business people is that it is one area which the developers do, and does not directly concern them. As much of the material available on Agile Software Development does specifically concern Software Development teams, that is quite an understandable assumption to make. In a company developing bespoke software, the client needs to be made aware of the nature of an Agile Software Development project, and a contract needs to be negotiated that is compatible with the chosen methodology. And it’s the business people who are associated with a project that usually hold the responsibility of setting the customer’s expectations for a project and negotiating the contract.

Customers not really acquainted with Software Development expect that when negotiating a new project with a Software Development company that the process is quite like purchasing almost every other goods and services. The client explains what they need, they agree a price together with a delivery date, and the customer then waits for it to be achieved. The Software Development company will not want to challenge these expectations for the fear of making a customer uncomfortable, and potentially losing their business. This often leads to a binding agreement that mirrors these expectations. The customer continues to expect that the software, by the release date, is going to be ready and do everything the customer wants, and they only need to wait.

However it is inevitable that the customer will need to provide feedback on the software and will be very keen to make some changes. In the above scenario the client is going to find themselves giving their feedback at a time towards the release date when they actually get to see the software.

These changes are unlikely to be very welcome to the Software Development company at this point. In practice these requests for changes results in friction between the customer and the Software Development company, possibly bringing about arguments between the company and the customer. The company will believe that these requirements wasn’t specified originally when the contract was signed and demand additional cash to implement these changes. If the customer agrees, a new contract will need to be negotiated. On the other hand the company may agree to do these changes for free given that the customer is without a doubt quite upset that the software does not do what the customer wants. The more often these changes are handled for free; the company gets closer to generating a loss on the project. In both of these scenarios, the project is sure to be late.

If the development team itself is trying to be Agile and is developing the project in iterations, the case is often improved through getting feedback from the customer earlier on in the project. But if the contract remains to be the same, these changes will still be unwelcome to the business people associated with the project. They will be seen as an extra expense and the developers are going to be instructed to extend the time on making these changes until a new or revised contract can be negotiated. Once the business people perceive that changes will be happening between iterations and that this needs addressing, they should recognise that a new approach will probably be required in future for making new contracts with customers. An effective option that they might choose is to try to break down the ‘development’ of the project into separate, ready planned phases and then make this the substance of the contract. This approach doesn’t challenge the customer’s expectations of being certain of the outcome of a project, and so it appears like a safe option. At the start of a project, a customer is frequently quite positive that they know what they aspire to. In practice, actually seeing and using the software might most likely make the customer consider the project in a whole lot more depth than they had previously.

This phased approach to making contracts is not going to solve the issue of welcoming changes and introduces new problems. When the first phase of the project completes, the customer gets to use the software for the first time and starts making requests for changes. As a consequence the next phase will have to be planned again. If the original phases were time estimated then the next phase will require a new estimation from the development team. And the business people will have to create a new contract for the next phase. Normally, this approach will demand a large administrative overhead for relatively small amounts of work. The customer can also be likely to get impatient over the length of time it takes just to get some more work done. More steps need to be taken to effectively develop within an iterative fashion.

In an ideal scenario, the people setting the customer’s expectations for the project would have bought in to the concept of Agile Software Development and grasp the principles involved. They would have the responsibility of also convincing the customer of these benefits and negotiating a contract that works well with their chosen methodology. Three typical customer expectations shall be challenged during this process:

  1. that they already know exactly what they want
  2. that they can be certain of what to expect at the end of the project
  3. that the Software Development company is exclusively responsible for the success of the project

To convince the customer that developing the project the Agile way is a good idea; the benefits need to be emphasised:

  • That they can change their minds if they want, when they want
  • Their changes will be incorporated in to their application quickly with minimal administrative overhead
  • They will not have to wait long to see their changes in the software
  • The application developed will be what they want it to be not now but what they want on the release date
  • They will have an important role in guiding the development of the project throughout its development

There are of course trade-offs for these benefits:

  • The customer can’t be certain what they are certain to get at the end of the project when signing the contract
  • The criteria for the success of the project will change with time and will not be stated explicitly in the contract as a detailed specification
  • The customer must take an enthusiastic role participating in the project. The project’s success all hangs on on the effectiveness of the collaboration between the customer and the Software Development team.
  • The customer will have to prioritise their changes, choosing which ones are developed first and which of them have to be dropped when necessary

A compatible contract will likely not state a detailed project plan, and make that plan a binding agreement for the Software Development company. General, advanced level requirements will be used as the success criteria for the project.

In return the contract will enable the customer to request changes to the project when the customer wants to. A formal definition of how changes are handled will be included in the contract. This definition will match the methodology used by the Software Development team. With most Agile methodologies this will mean that the development team will incorporate these changes in the next iteration following the change request from the customer. The contract will also not contain specific time estimations for high level requirements. It will instead contain an iteration schedule. A contract that welcomes change is a contract that does not have to be changed.

While the process described is known as change, this term doesn’t accurately describe the all that is taking place. A changing business environment can motivate changes in requirements but what is happening most often is the creation of new ideas for the software from both the customers and the development team. It is part of the creative process that makes the software and it is definitely something that ought to be welcomed.

Technical Knowledge to Look For in Indian Software Development Companies

India is not only popular for its rich culture and heritage but also popular for its software development activities. It is a fact that India is a super power in the IT sector and other related services. Many of the countries from all over the world have relied upon India for their IT requirements, since India boast a global competence in the information technology sector. A software development company India has expertise on several different tools and technologies to come up with the perfect application or software solutions at a perfect time.

There are numerous Java, ASP Net programmers and several application or software developers in India working for several offshore product and software development companies, outsource software development companies and many other software companies that are situated in India such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai.

In addition to Java software and applications, experts in India have proficiency in JTEE, ASP Net and Custom Application and software development.

Most of the software development companies in India have stamped their authority in several tools and technologies. Some of them are programming languages (Visual Basic, C#, VB.Net or C++), Frameworks/ architecture (JTEE or Microsoft.Net), web technologies (DHTML, HTML, AJAX or XML), databases (Oracle, MySQL or MS SQL Server), server languages (Servlets, ASP, JSP, C# or PHP), and several other testing tools.

Java and software developers in India have got profound expertise and experience on latest Java platforms and technologies for development of dynamic, flexible and scalable applications. Software companies in this country are capable of working on load balancing systems, enable several server platforms and optimize the processing of the databases for the complicated Java program architectures.

Another development in the technological factors in India is the J2EE application development. In India, developers are capable of both web-oriented and desktop Java applications and products employing open source J2EE frameworks such as Struts, spring, Hibernate, and lots more. They could also switch your existing application servers to J2EE or Java platforms such as WebSphere, Weblogic or Apache.

Small software companies and firms in India have also mastered the art of latest Microsoft languages such as.NET in order to help speed the development of web-based and desktop application software or programs.

ASP.Net programmers in India have made use of this server-side computer model in order to build several business solutions such as CRM (customer relationship management), SCM (supply chain management), strategic systems and online community tools. The Software Company in India performs activities related with the sustenance and construction of software. The most significant aspect of the software companies in the nation rests on the idea of IT. Services such as the consulting and software training, maintenance and many more also contribute to the IT Sector. Currently, Indian software development companies are on the path of rapid growth despite the global financial crises and the global technical epidemic.

Software Development Company – Offshoring

Software Development Company builds Software. What exactly is Software? In a layman’s language I would say that software is a collection of computer programs and information seized in the memory of a computer for various functions. It performs various fruitful jobs for the users, which edge with hardware to offer the necessary services for application software, which in time coordinates and controls. Software once been loaded in the computers memory executes the application. The process involves three stages wherein the instructions are passed through application Software, through system Software, to the hardware, which eventually receives instruction.

Technically, one would say that Software as a Service is an application model where a software vendor works on developing a software application and hosts and operates the application for use by its users over the Internet/desktop. In a Software development company the focus is on Custom Software, which is developed for a specific organization and targeted to several business, entities, companies or organizations. The second kind of software will be off the shelf Software that is already produced or designed and are more readily available and cost effective.

Software development process has been observed that large numbers of projects now a day are not meeting the expectations in terms of functionality, cost, Deadlines and effective project management which hampers the overall growth of the Software Development Company.
There are lot of Software Development Companies that follow different models for the development of the Software, most commonly used would be Process Model which includes Waterfall Process, iterative process and Formal Methods.

IT Department and Software Development Company across the globe are considering outsourcing in a big way. Considering deeply the cost factor and the availability of highly qualified developers. The major factors that are kept in mind while outsourcing any project is “Track record” of the company and “Knowledge of the Industry Vertical”. The main reason to choose a company with these two important factors is firstly, the company that says that it caters to all verticals in software development may not specialize in any area and which may take lot of time and effort for that company to fulfill the needs of the project. This may adversely affect the deadline and the cost of the project. Secondly, the track record that can only be studied by the previous project company has taken up and by taking all possible references. At the same time it will be important to take into account the quality certification and quality of developers in the company. It is always advised to visit the premises and consider all options before outsourcing a project.

It will be surprising that sometimes no physical contracts or no disclosure agreements are signed between companies while outsourcing the Software project to offshore Software Development Company. The contracts or agreements signed usually are via email and the whole project is taken up on simple mutual trust between two companies. When a project is planned to be outsourced the deliverable should be clearly defined while maintaining the confidentiality rights on both ends as the entire project information is let out to a third person and can be critical for the business. Also the vendor under any circumstances should not directly interact with the employee of the Software Development Company. And of course not to forget the foremost reason the cost, it is often seen that the reason for outsourcing the project often becomes the most common reason for arguments between a supplier and vendor and is applicable in all industries in the world. Thus, a clear mention of the total project pricing and milestones at which the charges will be paid should be included as an important point within the contract.

The success of Offshore Outsourcing rests on the word “customer satisfaction”. Offshore Software Outsourcing is much about building relationships based on trust, and mutual respect. Software Development Company, should provide reliable, quality, and value added services to clients that take care of the definite business needs of the customer. A highly dedicated team for a project proves to be a beneficial point for the success of any outsourced project. Any team should have a Project manager, which fills the gap between the client and the developer. There should be proper goals defined for the team and client should be updated every week of the development made. And in case if there are any issues developers can be kept well informed in time.

Thus, the concentration should be on selecting the right partner for Software Development while evaluating all aspects. Selecting the right partner is often defined as a difficult choice to be made as Software Development Company, which leads to several consequences at a later stage, makes sometimes-false promises. It is suggested to review the resources (Infrastructure, personnel, track record etc.) of the business partner well before committing anything in “Offshore Outsourcing”.