How Agile are we at Cordiant?
- It doesn’t matter
We build products for our customers. It matters a lot how well we understand their Product Vision. It matters how quickly and effectively we can build the features required to take that Vision to the marketplace. It also matters how we can follow up on the initial successes and failures and continue to improve our customers’ offerings so that they are ahead of their competition.
Fixed Price Contracts rather than traditional Staff Augmentation rule most of our recent offshore development engagements. The pricing is agreed on the basis of very high-level requirements, sometimes, even based simply on the Product Vision. This helps us a long way towards delivering good working software quickly without going back and forth with the customer on requirements creep. We never discuss the commercial impact of requirements creep with our customers. We believe that requirements creep is an inherent, positive aspect of good software design and development. In fact, we will be genuinely concerned if there is very little requirements creep in a particular project.
The products we build, require our developers and testers to work closely with our customers. With the short iterations and frequent demonstrations we have in our development, there is continual interaction with the product owner. This keeps our teams engaged and also brings the best out of them.
It is interesting to note that User Stories take different levels of detail, even when they originate from the same individual or group. Our teams love this challenge, of translating these stories into technically executable working software.
The Agile that we practice, provides a lot of visibility to every single team-member. Great people are identified, irrespective of their age and experience. Poor performers are exposed early on, and the team gets stronger and better.
In terms of Agile Project Management software, we manage through a simple though popular solution rather than the more complex and ‘powerful’ offerings in the marketplace.
Recently, we have progressed into writing Automated Customer Acceptance Test Cases for each of the user stories, in parallel with development. Automation is implemented using Selenium and follows the same number of iterations that the development cycle takes.