Lost money

How much does your company lose due to unused software each year?

25 January 2017

agile development
software factory
DevOps

In British companies, more than a quarter of all purchased software is never used. In the US, that figure is a whopping 37%. The figures were published by British research agency 1E in its recent software usage report, which examines the software usage of 3.6 million users in 129 companies in countries such as the US, Canada and the UK.

This blogpost is not about unused software, but we do want to discuss a way to ensure that your next IT project only develops the functionality that is necessary for your business.

Agile thinking

Magazines and online articles spout information on scrum teams, user stories, daily stand-ups, product owners, etc. This is because agile development is genuinely a development method with many advantages today. We are on the verge of the fourth industrial revolution, which according to the World Economic Forum is characterized by speed, change and digital connections. New technologies are currently breaking through more quickly than ever before. This also has an impact on society's behavior. The quicker everything is available, the quicker we want to have everything.

Software development should follow this trend, and that is where agile development and software factories come in.

Agile is a mindset, a way of thinking that is almost completely opposite to the more traditional models. You start by asking the question: what allows me to generate most value from day one in my new project?
For the development of a new web store, this can be a simple landing page with a company name, logo, corporate colors and a field to enter your email address.

Such a simple start makes it unnecessary to write all possible functionality for the coming year. The market needs will have changed by then anyway. You also do not need to set up a complete infrastructure and database yet. Your development is step-by-step. After every step, you evaluate the result and you adjust. This does not only save you time and money; it also ensures that you only develop what your customer needs.

And when you combine agile development with a software factory, you get a method that allows you to turn ideas into projects very quickly. The big advantage of a software factory is that the platform and agile team are ready to plug in and start up projects.

The link with the 1E report is clear: because you are involved in the development throughout the process from start to finish and you take an iterative approach, you get exactly what your users or customers need.

Impact

However, understanding the agile mindset is not the same as actually taking an agile approach. Agile development seems easy, but has a big impact on the different aspects in the organization.

An agile approach first requires great responsibility from the project team. The entire team must be committed to achieve results. This is also an advantage: bearing the responsibility together also means more support is given and nobody is singled out individually. All performance is evaluated at team level.
Implemented in a software factory, this offers an extra dimension to you, the customer, as you are regarded as an equal member of the project team and you help manage the developments.

Because the customer bears some of the final responsibility, contracts are budgeted differently in this concept. This is not a matter of "fixed price, scope and time”. Determining all these factors in advance does not suit the agile mindset. You decide a number of man-days in advance, which you can help shape in practice during the project. This requires mutual trust that is built in recurring feedback cycles iteration after iteration.

Finally, an agile approach has an impact on personnel management. Staff in an agile team are assigned broader roles and take over each other's tasks. This broadens the staff's knowledge and experience and guarantees the project's continuity.

The advantage of agile development in a software factory

The power of a software factory is that agile development is ready for you with a platform, mindset and team to start every project immediately. If you are not yet proficient in the agile mindset, the Realdolmen DevOps Factory can also offer guidance in this respect. The end result is faster time-to-market for your project with a smaller budget and some funds to spare in order to respond to your customer's next needs.

damienbraeckman.pngIf you want more information on the agile approach, contact our expert Damien Braeckman, Solution Manager EPM at damien.braeckman@realdolmen.com.
 

Roel de Cuyper_0.jpgIf you want to realize a certain idea, or if you would like more information on the Realdolmen DevOps Factory, do not hesitate to contact Realdolmen DevOps Factory Manager Roel De Cuyper at roel.decuyper@realdolmen.com.

To find out more about Realdolemn DevOps Factory, read the blogposts published previously:

Reducing your time-to-market: R Project  (DevOps) Factory, your ideas incubator

From C-level digital (il)literacy to digital maturity

Cooperation that really works

A software factory's on-board instruments explained