Software specialist works with clients, rather than for clients.

Agile software development specialist Company-X teams up with clients to deliver award-winning software.

“We include clients so that they are involved in decisions as we go along,” says Company-X professional services manager Michael Hamid.

“We break the work down into two-week chunks so that it is easy to measure progress and change focus or direction relatively easy and quickly.”

Before work begins on the software solution, directors David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes discover the problem by meeting with the client.

Then Hamid and a project manager assemble a team including subject matter experts, solution architects, business analysts, developers and testers.

The team dives deep into the problem to ascertain how much effort the solution will require to develop. Then it is time to begin work. The first two-week chunk of work might involve graphical designs of how the software solution will work and operate.

“We want to ensure that the client is involved as much as possible about the functionality,” Hamid said. “We attempt to get to anything that we think is risky or unknown as soon as possible. We embrace the fail-fast philosophy which looks to identify and expose potential problems early.”

Hughes remembered an incomplete software development project that Company-X inherited. All the easy work had been done by other software developers first and there was little to show the client.

“We said we would not continue on that path and wanted to work on the dashboard screen that someone was going to use,” Hughes said.

“We came in and turned that around. Within a month the client could see what they were dealing with.”

150 Co X 6 Mar2018 3600pxCOLLABORATIVE: Company-X analyst developer Ryan O’Connor at work after a team meeting with a client.
Most Agile software development projects start with Company-X designers mocking up wireframes of how the solution could look. “We don’t necessarily jump into hacking code together,” Hughes said.

“We then have a blueprint of how to go forward,” Hamid added. Company-X prefers to form Agile software development teams that include members from the client’s organisation.

“We like projects where the client is brought inside the team,” Hughes said.

“We want somebody that we can work with who really knows what they want,” Hamid added. “We want someone who can take five-minute phones calls. It can sometimes take 15 to 20 minutes a day with a longer discussion at the end of every second week.”

Hughes said such discussion was vital for the Agile software development process.

“If you are laying a train track and each track you lay is three degrees out after 30 tracks have been laid you are 90 degrees off your original target. It’s a very expensive process to re-lay a track which is now pointing 90 degrees off course. These conversations make sure we are bang on track.”

The Company-X Agile software development team, with the client front and centre, is focused on delivering a sustainable and maintainable software solution.

“We resist the idea of just getting the job done,” Hamid said. “If you do it properly the first time you save yourself a lot of extra work later on. We have our eyes on the big picture at Company-X.”

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