Traditional approaches to application development are based on a thorough gathering and documentation of requirements, followed by functional specifications and design based on the approved requirements. Actual development doesn’t begin until after these phases are completed and approved. Changes that are made after these approvals, which can improve functionality or meet changing business needs, can be very costly to make and can slow down the development cycle.
An agile development process is more iterative. Rather than focusing on gathering and documenting thorough requirements, this approach allows for changes to requirements based on the collaborative discovery of needs. The benefits here are that the development team can adjust direction based on the changing needs of the stakeholders, and the deployed application could have greater value and higher usage. Another benefit is the ability to develop a more useful application in a shorter period of time.
Recently, we were challenged with developing a complex ERP solution to replace multiple disparate applications. Employing an agile approach and foregoing a lengthy requirements gathering phase, we developed a better solution that addressed the business requirements, and that got the client up and running on the new platform in a much shorter amount of time. Trellist is consistently reviewed newly developed areas of the application with our client to ensure that the functionality met their requirements and provided them the opportunity to make changes that improved the overall value to all stakeholders.
The agile approach to development has enabled this client to upgrade their back-end systems in less time, and at a lower cost, than if a more traditional method of development had been used.
An agile approach emphasizes collaboration among the stakeholders and the development team, which can result in a better product. However, even though there are many flavors of the agile methodology, it is not the right fit for every project. Agile is just one of the possible approaches that Trellist uses to help our clients meet their business objectives.