The challenge always contains change. New tasks may arise suddenly, and if you need a way to stay alert and ready, agile software development is still a thing. A more recent addition is IT staff augmentation, so you can enhance your team to add new specialists’ expertise.
Let’s see how your IT staff augmentation combines with principles emphasized in the Agile Manifesto, still actual twenty years later.
Individuals and Interactions
Finding the right employees is among the hardest tasks when forming an IT team. Not only should your potential employee possess the desired skills and competencies.
They should also be located somewhere near and be the kind or person to easily get along with others. Cultural, philosophical, and religious differences still may stand in the way of cooperation.
One of the primary tasks for a company offering IT staff augmentation is exactly this – finding you the right people. Along with purely professional knowledge, they possess the soft skills necessary to join a team where they have never met a single person before.
This requires an open mind and a deeply rooted sense of respect towards others. These qualities are necessary for employees whose task is to easily join various teams from around the world.
As for interactions, there is a working procedure that provides weekly or even daily meetings. The form of communication practiced by IT staff augmentation providers perfectly fits Agile as an ideology. It lets the developer adjust the course as frequently as necessary.
It also helps that the specialists employed by the augmentation vendor mostly work at the same location(s). To communicate with the customer’s core team, they use the same methods that the team uses within itself. This makes the integration seamless and fast.
What competence does your team lack to create working software? Coding in a certain language? A visionary approach to UI? Multimedia design? Implementing certain APIs? Whatever.
There is a request, there is a professional. If you don’t know what kind of specialist you need, you can talk to the vendor’s manager and tell what your current team lacks and what it fails at.
When the team gets together, its core and augmentation will work together and exchange knowledge to get the software working first. Then it’s time for updates and improvements. Iterative approach combines well with team enhancement. Do you need a working version every two or three weeks? Okay, the team is at it.
As for an inevitable part of this approach called technical debt, it is managed by a dedicated specialist. This part of the code has to exist, but it must be kept at bay, and the existing technical debt should be managed as so to minimize the required supporting code.
Staff augmentation is always about collaboration. No matter if the customer is you, developing the software for your own internal needs, or it’s your customers you develop and sell the product to.
First, you hear the customers (even if they are your employees or partners). What features do they need? What devices do they use the software with? What issues arise while using? These questions then need to be processed and addressed in the next version of your software.
Collaboration between the core team and guest professionals is great when you need to get rid of your tunnel vision. It inevitably forms when a team works for a long period of time and develops its own vision of its product. But your aim is not to convince the users they are wrong.
Your aim is to hear their point of view, address the issues they are concerned about, and make them satisfied. It’s not just the expertise the outsiders bring: it’s a fresh perspective.
Responding to Change
A need to change often comes as a surprise. When you suddenly realize you need your own mobile app, or want your website completely redesigned, or need your specialized software remade from scratch, or your IT structure audited and reshaped, the work should have been done by yesterday.
You may suddenly find out your initial view was wrong. So your product should progress in another direction, and that means you need other specialists with different competence and experience. Finding them is hard, changing them when hired is even harder, and working with freelancers is risky.
Staff augmentation companies offer the best possible solution: if you need to replace a certain specialist with a different one, you just request a replacement, and they find the right person for you. It’s been foreseen from the beginning, so there will be no offenses or legal issues.
In our time, you cannot predict what type of change you need. Instead of rigid planning, you can just revise your strategy on a weekly basis, at scheduled meetings.
There are two different approaches when you implement agile development.
- Delivery-centered. It’s great if you know what you want from your project; then the augmented team focuses on optimizing the work. It includes providing easy communication between your core team and the external members, so the augmented team uses all the knowledge it possesses.
- Scope-centered. It includes finding solutions for your problems (essentially creating the frame), ranging features of the future product and building a roadmap for it, and implementing these plans in timely releases.
No matter which of these approaches you choose, though, your company will benefit from contacting an IT staff augmentation vendor.
Knowing the benefits of agile development, they are also aware of its drawbacks and ready to minimize their effects (like technical debt). Thus, this approach to software development is agile-friendly and easy to implement. Are you agile enough for it?
Have you been involved in agile software development? What do you think about it? Do you think this is the future of the industry? Or has this approach become obsolete in twenty years after the Manifesto?
Share your thoughts in the comments, and we’ll be thankful. You can also share this on Facebook or Twitter, so your friends can read and discuss it with you.