We here at Anchor Communications and Digital Services (aka AnchorSTL) have found, through trial and error, that the “Full Meal Deal” quotes of old are extremely flawed when it comes to estimating and developing sustainable enterprise web sites and software applications. We are a progressive web development firm in St. Louis and wanted to find a better way. That brought us to Agile Development. The Agile Development Method is a Win, Win, Win, since it is good for the customer, it is good for the development company, and it is very good for the sustainability and end result quality of a programming project.
The Agile Web Development Method, in its simplest terms, promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual, lightweight framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle. As a result of this focus and its associated benefits, companies, organizations, and businesses are capable of significantly reducing the overall risk associated with software development
To be more specific, Agile Development accelerates the delivery of initial business value, and through a process of continuous planning and feedback, is able to ensure that value is continually being maximized throughout the development process. Because of this iterative planning and feedback loop, teams are able to continuously align the delivered software with the desires of the particular business being served while easily adapting to changing requirements throughout the entire process.
The problem with the old approach is that we would often experience Scope Creep. Scope Creep is when, during project management, there arises uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in the project’s scope. This results when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. It is more often than not a negative occurrence, and it is our goal to avoid it at all costs. This is why we have implemented the Agile Development Method, so we can keep control of the project and accomplish what is desired without there being confusion on the client’s end or on our end.
The Agile Method also allows for us to interact with the client more during the course of the project and allows for more flexibility and transparency. By measuring and evaluating status based on the undeniable truth of working and testing software, much more accurate visibility into the actual progress of projects is available. Finally, by following the Agile Method, there will be a software system that much better addresses the needs of the client.
Sometimes, during the project, the client may want to put in a Change Order. A Change Order is when work is added or deleted from the original scope of work in the contract, which alters the original contract amount and/or completion date. A Change Order can also result in a new project being created to account for the significant changes to the current project. Common causes for Change Orders to be created are:
- The project’s work was incorrectly estimated.
- The client or project team discovers obstacles or possible deficiencies that require them to deviate from the original plan.
- The client or project team are inefficient or incapable of completing their required deliverables within budget, and additional money, time, or resources must be added to the project.
- During the course of the project, additional features or options are perceived and requested.
The billing cycle usually starts with an up front cost, then any billings after that will be on an incremental basis. This allows for changes to made to any bills since they will be adapted to cover any new changes or modifications made during the course of the project.
Oftentimes, because we are a mobile marketing/software development company, we engage in something called Scrum Development. Scrum Development is related to Agile Development in that it’s an iterative and incremental Agile Software Development framework for managing software projects and product or application development. It focuses on projects where it is difficult to plan ahead due to constantly changing conditions. It is designed for planning and managing projects by bringing decision-making authority to the level of operations. In other words, more visibility and transparency on all levels of the particular project.
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