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The Future is Agile Application Development

Mar 8, 2018

Eagle Creek has been building Java and .Net applications for the last six years.  Our projects have ranged from 1,000 to 100,000 development hours and we are well on our way to reaching the 100,000+ realm.

We have come to many conclusions from our Agile projects in a multitude of industries.  The first being that App Dev is always a build versus buy decision.  The buy alternative is typically a commercial cloud application, usually Salesforce, or something else highly customized.  Each year, the build has been expanding in project hours, which means the need for more features, functionality, integration, complexity and UX.

We’ve also concluded that today, the builds are typically part of an enterprise solution and an enterprise vision.  This contrasts with in years past when the builds were point solutions.

Lastly, all builds are Agile driven.

Rating our customers

On my scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is excellent, our customers have been no better than a 5 both with Agile, and in their experience building applications.

New domain requirements

This growing demand for App Dev combined with a business’ lack of experience has pushed Eagle Creek into a new consulting domain. We established a Project Management Office that not only defines our standards, but integrates the customer’s team into our development process.

We have also expanded the capabilities of our project manager, increased our BA and pre-sales capabilities, expanded our technical capabilities, added new, non-billable oversite engagement management, and we developed our own Agile methodology called Adaptive Agile.  Adaptive Agile is a hybrid methodology that incorporates some front and backend aspects of Waterfall. 

We’ve invested in all of this so we can continue to service the enterprise as App Dev moves into the enterprise.

Conclusion

It’s clear, based on our experience, the U.S. needs to re-find its groove in building applications.  It’s been 20+ years since most companies have built enterprise applications.  And we can’t forget that the U.S. spent the last 15 years outsourcing its talent, which has created a resource void.  All of this is impacts Agile and App Dev. 

My guess is that it will take the U.S. two or three years to get ahead of this curve.  If you fall into this group, don’t despair, there are several Agile techniques you can adopt to enable success, regardless of the size of your project.

  1. Agile assumes you will be 100% ready and prepared from the project get-go. It’s unlikely you will, and there’s nothing you can do about it.Just accept it and budget an additional one or two sprints to make up for the additional ramp time.
  2. Pure Agile is for the experienced.If you’re not – and most aren’t – use a hybrid methodology to compensate.The below link is to our hybrid model.Hopefully it helps you understand where the potential issues will be.Give us a call if you have any questions on how to engage it.We consider our methodology Open Source.
  3. You don’t know what you don’t know. Our experience is the business will discover at least 20% new feature/functionality requirements by the time the 80% completion mark is reached.Use the extra sprints to compensate for this reality.

Application Development will be with us for some time as we become more digital, more UX and more customer-facing.  Speed-to-market will be a core driver of App Dev.  This means Agile will remain near the top of everyone’s agenda.  With our long history in Agile we think the ‘90s mantra of continuous improvement is the best way forward.  All of us should evolve – both the IT Services Industry and business.

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