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Top 5 ways Software Development can improve your business

Everyone knows you need that extra edge to stay competitive in your industry, but it can be hard to actually pin down what it is that can provide this advantage. One of the keys to such success is how you approach the seemingly daunting area of “software development”. Not only can a refocus on your software development improve your business efficiency and speed to market, it can also ensure you plan for the unexpected.

Arne Laugstøl, co-founder, new Developers Conference (); (NDC London) the UK’s leading festival for developers reveals the top 5 ways Agile development can be used to effectively improve the way your business operates.

Visibility and Control for Key Business Managers

It may seem tempting to relegate IT issues exclusively to the “IT people”, yet with Agile development integration and visibility ensure that the end-product fits business requirements. In order to keep tabs on business processes it is imperative that those at the top are able to see and, if needs be, control what goes on at other levels. This is because Agile development follows an iterative approach, in which software is worked on in short cycles. Accordingly, between each cycle there is the opportunity for you, the business manager, to step in and amend key features at frequent intervals.

Improving Quality of Services

Keeping customers happy is on the top of any clear-thinking business manager’s agenda. Effective software development can ensure all customers receive smooth and efficient service. Two heads are better than one and Pair Programming (a technique in which two programmers work together at one workstation) is common practice in the development sphere. Especially effective in reducing bugs and software complications, this process prevents the irritation caused to customers when a site goes down and the concurrent lost business that may result.

As well as involving team work between developers, the iterative nature of Agile software development means that key stakeholders are actively involved in providing feedback throughout the process. This ensures that the end product effectively meets the specific requirements identified by the business management team. Adopting these collaborative practices thus produce results that keep your business ahead of the competition.

Improve Efficiency

For businesses where speed is crucial, Agile development is particularly effective because this is designed with rapid delivery in mind. Many Agile practices are ideally suited to industries where demands and needs change rapidly, because the aforementioned iterative development practices make it easy to make changes at short notice. There is also another Agile tool which is ideal for maintaining flexibility. This is the “product backlog”, a list of priorities and the related business target, which is easily, adapted as needs change throughout the duration of a project.

Plan Effective Responses

All being well, your business may well receive a sudden surge of interest at any stage. How will you cope with this? With the right software development tools and programmers, you can ensure that business can always run “as usual” even with above average levels of activity. Agile software is particularly useful for this, with Continuous Integration, Automated Testing, and Building and Source control helping no end. These allow extra versions of code to be easily added in and taken out as and when necessary.

Control Costs

The relatively low cost of buying off-the-shelf software means that you certainly won’t be ahead of the pack if you buy this, and this type of software might not even be ideally suited to your business needs; however, custom software can sometimes be hugely expensive. Fortunately, the cost of Agile software development can be controlled more effectively than traditional management projects.

Whilst Agile software development follows a fixed timescale and budget, traditional management practices tend to take the risk of allowing costs to mount up in the hope these investments will pay off in the final product. Agile software’s backlog practices can also avoid wasting resources because this prioritises the most valuable tasks. Moreover, because features are produced incrementally, with the iterative development approach, some financial benefits can be gained early in the production process.

NDC London is taking place at ExCeL on December 4-6 and is the UK’s leading festival for developers. NDC London offers an arena for developers to share, gain and celebrate expert knowledge and features a host of exclusive talks from leading international experts on .NET and Agile development.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Arne Laugstøl .

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