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10/8/2013
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CIO Success Story: Agile Development

Surprisingly, an abundance of time and money produces more software development problems than fast and inexpensive. Here's why.

If you've got enough money to do a project right, chances are you'll have more problems than if you don't. It sounds counterintuitive at first, but if you'll bear with me you'll see how small budgets and smart projects go hand in hand.

As I began developing a cloud-based supply chain application for my new company, SCM Globe, there were many times I regretted not having the staff and budget I had in my last CIO position. But then at my last company I didn't have the money or resources that my competitors had. And both times I did well. I got things done faster than other people thought possible and for less money.

When I have all the time and money I need, there is no need to be agile. And disciplined use of agile software development techniques is my formula for success. Over time I do wind up spending almost as much as I would if I used traditional software development practices. But the money is much better spent because of two big benefits I get from being agile that I never got using traditional practices.

The first benefit is that I don't get bogged down in lengthy requirement-gathering. We don't produce hundreds of pages of specifications that nobody reads that quickly become obsolete. Instead, we focus on the most important features that can be delivered in 30-60-90-day cycles.

People always know what the most important features are because it's the stuff that keeps them up at night. They can tell you what they are pretty quickly. Those features define the minimum viable product (MVP). I segment the MVP into software delivery cycles that are 30 to 90 days long. So people see IT is getting things done, and that builds momentum and credibility for the project.

Read the rest of this article on Enterprise Efficiency.

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