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Agile methods

At Syntropy Limited we are strong supporters and advocates of agile methods for software development.

Agile methods focus on ensuring that the end product is really what is required for your business – as opposed to what we thought you said you wanted, or what you wanted when the project started. Business moves too quickly these days to write requirements in stone and contracts in blood: the agile approach is to keep strong contacts between client and developers, continually applying 'course corrections'.

Traditional development processes are a bit like firing a cannon. Analysis is like taking aim: you work out as carefully as you can where the design effort should end up. Then the designers and coders go off on their own trajectory for many months, while everyone holds their breath to see if they land anywhere near the target.

As often as not, they donít, of course. One reason is that the target is moving; but in any case, itís often difficult to define the target precisely in advance – attempts to do so can take up a great deal of time, and yet still be inaccurate.

By breaking the development into small cycles, where each cycle produces visible results that can be evaluated and reviewed, we ensure there are many points at which the direction of the work can be re-appraised. The cycles may be as short as one day, but never longer than a few weeks. This approach minimises investment in work that might otherwise be headed in the wrong direction.

For more information on agile methods visit the Agile Alliance.

We can define and implement an agile process for your organisation as part of our process design and implementation service.