Last week Computer Sweden wrote about agile development and how Itello makes use of scrum. Dmitry Palagi and Jacob Funck, Developer and Director of Development at Itello respectively explained in the article about the advantages and disadvantages of this approach. And they emphasised that it is the people who make it work not the method itself.
But what does agile development mean in more concrete terms?
The long-term system development at Itello is structured in three-week intervals, so-called sprints. The structure of each sprint is static. As soon as the preceding sprint is evaluated planning of the next sprint begins, with short daily reconciliations, a so-called ”daily scrum”. After fifteen weekdays the sprint is concluded with an internal demo for everyone who was involved in the sprint. The process of the work is visualised on scrum boards with post-it notes where the priority areas are made clear. There is a clear structure before the demo, which also simplifies the system test and product management. In the short daily scrum-meeting every feature contributes, such as tester and product management which creates consensus and working tasks being divided in an optimal manner. The cross-functional work quite simply increases the closeness. It also places higher demands on the product management team who structure and prioritise the general functions which are to be developed, which creates a clear connection to the customer’s needs.
During the summer of 2011 Itello developed the functions in Inca that are required to handle the new investment savings account ISK. The development team worked on the tasks in their sprints in a clear, structured way with daily monitoring. Thanks to the clear customer dialogue, among other things, through the User Group meeting and by doing things in the right order, focus on the customers’ needs of many of the functions which are used for the administration of pensions and savings in the insurance form means that the delivery could take place in the autumn release.
Itello brings out four releases of Inca each year. Permanent releases are sometimes a disadvantage. But thanks to the agile approach we can always prioritise every third week. In this way there are good opportunities to handle changes in customer requirements without creating chaos, which is of great importance to a product company like Itello. It also creates the conditions for planning the work. We see what has been produced every third week, and we can plan the next sprint from there. An empirical approach to planning that simply creates security.
With the agile approach, we reduce risks by reducing the number of key people. We maintain a more even delivery speed, bring in new employees in a simple way and can thus grow without smashing the product factory. We are constantly improving. The focus is on value instead of the plan. But we are optimising the flow all the time. We will never be able to see into the future, but we are trying to find ways to be as productive as possible. Through the agile approach we adapt ourselves to changes in the market, and ensure that we navigate correctly along the way.