We always talk a lot about Agile Methodologies and Fast Ramp Up, extolling the virtues of these concepts and how they will set your project up for success. Today I will continue to sing the praises of these concepts but instead of just explaining how they will help you with this, that, and the other thing I will provide concrete examples of how each of them were crucial for two of our client’s projects.
The Agile Path to Project Success
Let’s start with Agility. To do so I am going to speak about one of our clients, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City. Many of you are probably familiar with this organization, but for the uninitiated Big Brothers Big Sisters is a one to one volunteer youth mentoring organization where adults (Bigs) are paired with children (Littles) to act as both a guide and a friend.
Where Agility comes into play is with the development of BBBS’s mobile application called GoBig, an app meant to facilitate communication between mentors and case workers. BBBS set a strict deadline and budget for the completion of this project. Luckily, Agile development is perfect for projects where time and budget is limited. Agile teams are used to completing fast releases, and the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team all work together in order to choose which features are really necessary for the final product.
Agile teams release a working product after each sprint (development cycles that usually last around two weeks), and will focus on what new features need to be added or improved upon when planning each subsequent sprint. Quick releases mean quick feedback, when a development team can get instant access to client feedback, it allows them to adapt their plans as they move forward with project development. Overall, Agile teams focus first on what is necessary for creating a useful product that matches the client’s expectations, and will add as many product features as time and budget constraints allow.
Our work with BBBS happened just like this. Our development team first focused on rapidly creating a basic application with basic features. Client feedback from BBBS during subsequent sprints helped our teams choose which features to focus on next, and by the end of the project GoBig was created with all of the features the client expected as well as a few extras, and all of this happened within 6 months on a fixed budget.
Startups are often working in a context of tight time and budget restraints, for this reason Agile Methodologies work very well for startups. They ensure that a functional product will be released and then the most important secondary features can be developed and perfected based on feedback as well as the project’s remaining time and budget.
Fast Ramp Up to Fuel your Progress
Now let’s move on to one of our other favorite concepts, fast ramp up. In simple terms, fast ramp up is the ability to quickly grow a team by taking on additional members whenever a project is ready to move onto its next level of development. The importance of fast ramp up is obvious, if your project is ready to ramp up then you need your team to ramp up with it. If you are stuck in the recruitment phase looking for candidates to join your team you are losing valuable time.
Although fast ramp up is important, it is equally important to be able to ramp your team back down when you no longer need the same amount of manpower pushing your project forward. Combining fast ramp up and ramp down allows you to optimally manage your resources, so you will never have more or less human resources than you need.
Fred de la Compta, a Paris based startup that has created a web and mobile platform that hosts an array of accounting tools that allows users to manage expenses, taxes, etc., was able to ramp their team up and down as needed by working with our outsourcing teams. Fred de la Compta’s customer base was expanding rapidly and they realized the need to create a second, more performant version of their app. Instead of going through a lengthy recruitment process, Fred de la Compta decided to use Pentalog to ramp up their team. Within a matter of weeks they were able to find developers and have them start working on the newest version of their app.
After a few months of working togehter, Fred de la Compta didn’t need as many developers from us and we were able to ramp the team back down with no problem. Before you start worrying about how we treat our developers, know that they are not treated as disposable. They have full-time contracts at our delivery centers and once they are finished on one client project they will be assigned to another. Outsourcing makes it bother easier to ramp up and ramp down, where doing this in house is often both difficult and time consuming.
Experience Agile Ramp Up
If you couldn’t tell by now, we here at Pentalog love Agility and we love the idea of fast ramp up. All of our teams are Agile, which is the methodology we believe is the best and most flexible for IT teams and projects, especially when it comes to startups. So any time you want to recruit and ramp up a team with us, you will also reap the benefits that an Agile team brings to your project. If you want to see how affordable it is to set up an Agile team with Pentalog, check out our price list.