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Herry Wiputra, Chief Product and Technology Officer, hipages
When launching a business to develop a new product, organisations can face markets that are constantly changing. Traditionally, while developing software, everything had to be done upfront. To elaborate, developers previously needed to work with large volumes of documentation to ensure even the minute details were covered. This process would take months, and by the time developers began to build the software, both the needs of the customers and that of the businesses would have shifted. The old ways of building software are no longer viable in today’s competitive business environment.
Agile is a way to quickly iterate ideas to develop a product that delivers the best value to customers. It helps organisations easily navigate the product development journey and find the best path to creating a sustainable and scalable business model. Agile excels as a fruitful means to building software that can embrace change. In building the product, Agile determines even the smallest factor that could help solve a customer problem and takes into account customer feedback while embracing the constant changes in the business landscape.
Challenges in Adopting Agile
One of the most significant issues in software development is achieving perfection. No matter how skilled and certified a developer is, problems can still arise along the development journey.
All factors in the process are conceptual, and there is no blueprint for creating software, primarily because the moment developers start creating software, different ideas begin to flow in their minds. Developers often think of changing the attributes in accordance with the needs of the clients. However, the processes involved in software development do not adapt well to change. Since the process is upfront, it is imperative for developers to stick to a particular plan.
Another problem with many organisations in adopting Agile is the lack of eagerness among the developers to learn quickly and fail early. In most cases, software developers try to follow the waterfall theory, but under the guise of Agile.
It can be said that adopting Agile in a startup is much easier than in big companies as there are less processes involved. In the tech startup sector, Agile is a prevalent mindset and method used for business and product development. However, once a company starts scaling, things start becoming more complicated and chaotic for teams. More importantly, organisations should not compromise team strength and size. One of the ways to do this is by growing the organisation in a manner that allows more teams to deliver additional value to the customer, quickly and independently.
Best Practices in Adopting Agile
There are many methods when it comes to implementing Agile. These include Scrum methodology, lean software development, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP), among others. That said, software development teams in an organisation must include strategies that provide value to the customer. Most organisations are structured to follow a top-down approach, and if one looks at the different levels of an organisation, there are diverse departments for specific purposes.
Hence, my first recommendation to entrepreneurs would be to understand who your clients are and adopt a bottom-up approach. An organisation needs to build more cross-functional teams and work together to deliver value to the client. If an organisation works backward and starts from the client’s benefits, then it can have a clear understanding of what clients want and the solutions they are looking for.
Advice to the Entrepreneurs
Having worked at many startups and transforming them successfully, I have heard one of the founders of a startup telling me that although the first few years were great and the company was delivering value to customers quickly while increasing the profit, it gets slower as it scales. My takeaway from that was; scale your organisation by building cross-functional teams that deliver value to the customer rather than building a complex hierarchy.