Sometimes, the terms make decisions easy. Would you rather develop your app or website with a process called "agile," or "fixed scope?" The answer should be clear, and that's before we've even begun to describe exactly what the two terms mean. So allow us to explain just that, before arguing just why agile development is a more transparent, cost-effective and ultimately beneficial app or website development process for your company.
Fixed Scope Development
Anytime you hear a programmer or software engineer mention fixed scope or fixed bid development, they're talking about the traditional approach to developing apps and websites. When approached by a customer, the development firm comes up with a very specific plan that includes several steps, from coming up with a strategy all the way to testing. A strict budget is attached to that plan, including a timeline for the various steps.
In other words, fixed scope development is about as linear as you could imagine. Each step takes place after the one before it, with little to no interaction between the various processes. Within the development firm, strict, standardized roles are assigned to the various steps. The customer may receive progress updates, but will in most cases not have input into the software until the final, feedback stage.
On the other hand, a definition of the term agile software development begins where you'd expect it to: with flexibility. According to Webopedia, the term stands for
an alternative to traditional project management where emphasis is placed on empowering people to collaborate and make team decisions in addition to continuous planning, continuous testing and continuous integration.
Flowing from this definition, the concept places importance on individuals and interactions over technical processes, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over sticking to a plan.
In other words, agile development is a more people-oriented, adaptive approach to developing software, apps and websites. That's why when compared to fixed scope development, there are several
Advantages of Agile Development.
As you may have inferred from the paragraphs above, flexibility makes agile development a desirable alternative to its fixed scope counterpart. Because planning, testing and integration are continuous instead of linear, the app or website can be adjusted at any point in the process. In fixed scope development, there may not be enough time for a major change once a problem or bug is discovered in the testing phase. The flexibility of agile development improves the final product considerably.
But flexibility isn't the only advantage of this process. Agile's emphasis on people over processes also leads to increased collaboration, both within the development company and with the customer. The team roles are not defined nearly as strictly as they are in fixed scope, as analysts and usability testers can freely interact with and offer feedback to planners and software engineers as the latter work on the project. In fact, AgileMethodology.org states that there are only three roles in the entirety of the process.
Of course, collaboration extends to the customer (you) as well. Because of its flexibility, agile development allows customers to offer continuous feedback, allowing to adjust the app or website throughout the process. We recognize that a major website overhaul or new app can be a significant project, both in terms of budget and price. That's why we want you to have as much input into the project as possible, allowing you to offer feedback and change direction as needed.
Because ultimately, agile development is about transparency. If you decide to go with an agile firm like us, you will gain much more insight into the development process than you would from our fixed scope counterparts. For more information on the process and how we can help your business, contact us.