Your company must constantly adapt to its environment. Your IT must be easily upgradable to best support your changes of goals or organization.
The methods of "agile development", as they are called, are an answer to this challenge of flexibility. They allow a regular adjustment of priorities, ease the control of the planning and of the budget and improve the quality of achievements through regular involvement of key users.
"SCRUM": iterative development
The SCRUM method organizes developments in short iterations from 1 to 4 weeks. To each iteration corresponds the implementation of new functions. You can change at all time the planning of iterations to come.
The use of this agile method goes hand in hand with a regulated invoicing mode. A very precise calculation of the services is provided for each short iteration. This a posteriori checking is linked to a detailed evaluation of the workload and to a "speed" management of the development team in order to ensure the control of the budget.
Note however that the first phase of a new project has normally a fixed price. The agile-regulated mode is advocated for the following phases.
The 4 steps of an iteration
When applying the Open UP (Open Unified Process) method, the developments included in each iteration go through four stages :
Identification of business needs, definition of specifications, prototyping, evaluation of the workload and planning.
- Drawing up.
Conception of technical architecture including potential functional prototypes (proof-of-concept). This phase marks out the development and limits the technical risks.
Development of iteration features, unitary and procedural testing.
Making the development available for users, user testing, debriefing and adjustments.