While companies develop products frequently to satisfy their customer demands, it is equally important to build an organization that is resilient to turbulent market conditions and other unwarranted circumstances. The journey of an organization from having difficulties getting its products to the customers to gaining the ability to churn out products on a weekly basis is slow yet rewarding. As companies grow, the need to automate business processes becomes inevitable and they start from a low maturity level and modernize whenever they reach a certain threshold. This cycle goes on till they gain the highest maturity level in technology placing them on the forefront of innovation. Agile software development methodology imparts adaptability to software vendors by shortening the time-to-market and reducing the technical debt. It gives them the much needed leeway to release the product when they want and market it efficiently. Combining Agile with cutting-edge technologies, accelerators and frameworks will increase the quality of the software multifold.

An organization’s journey

A vendor from the Netherlands had a difficult start in terms of technological maturity. They develop software applications for hairdressers and had two applications (both written in Delphi) around 2007. Initially, they had to distribute their new versions of their software in compact disks (CD) to customers despite having a download option. They were losing customers due to their legacy applications and finally decided to scale up their software engineering expertise. After introducing Agile processes like Kanban and Scrum, their software releases became more streamlined and they developed a salon management application and a customer facing application on the cloud. The development of these applications on the cloud enabled them to distribute the newer version with ease and without any disruptions in operations. The introduction of Agile software development methodology gave great flexibility for the client. They were able to switch from Scrum to Kanban and vice versa. As the release cycles shortened, they released newer version frequently, releasing as frequent as 5 deployments in 7 days. This ability came in handy during the COVID pandemic in 2020 when the Dutch government changed the regulations almost every week. They were also able to scale up and down based on the customer requirements.

Results

During the 10+ years of maturation journey, the Dutch salon management solution provider increased its software engineering expertise and evolved into an Agile organization. Their customer experience improved and they managed to leverage their capabilities to increase their earnings-on-bookings. The number of salons using its applications during this period went up from 1000 to 1600. The flexibility imparted on the company by Agile approach helped them to successfully manage the crisis during the pandemic. Agile software development made this software vendor a marker leader in the salon management software industry.

Building an Agile Organization

Since agility is of high strategic priority, independent software vendors from all the industries should adopt the agile software development methodology for stability and dynamism. Agile software development creates value for the vendors with continually evolving needs. It creates a dense network of powerful teams that are time tested and have high standards. The level of accountability, expertise, and transparency that an organization has is dependent on the stability of the ecosystem which in Agile’s case is high. The empowered teams are cross-functional and self-managing, where the individuals are picked from “flow-to-work” pools. Agile organizations also perform in cycles of planning and executing so they are aligned closely with their process of creativity and accomplishments.

Agile in Software Development

While Agile is a proven methodology to increase the business value, combining it with expertise in cutting edge technologies, accelerators and frameworks for cloud and microservices migration will transform the organization by imparting a culture that is conducive for success. The transparent governance model and high performance teams will help organizations the capabilities to have leeway over their software release dates. This end-to-end ownership across software development life cycle entails product ideation, development, testing, deployment and support. Solution providers that are highly skilled in technologies like cloud, microservices, UI/UX, AI and ML can help software vendors to build high quality software that create value.

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Sriram Sundaresan