We continue our series on project management methodologies used in the factoring software development process. In our previous post, you can read about the Waterfall approach, which guarantees a predictable production process and works well when you expect a project to have a clearly defined scope and cost of producing a solution.
Today we will focus on the approach aimed at continuous improvement of an IT solution that guarantees its flexibility in relation to the environment in which it is used, which is constantly changing. The Agile approach focuses primarily on close collaboration between developers and users and on an iterative approach to building and developing an IT solution.
An Agile project is conducted in so-called sprints, i.e. short iterations in which small parts of the solution, such as particular functionalities of the solution, are developed, tested and delivered to the customer for efficient testing and approval.
The main feature of the Agile methodology is that the project requirements (in Waterfall set at the very beginning of the project) are not fixed and assumed 100% in advance. In other words, aspects such as the scope of functionality and the way the system works are constantly evolving during the project.
What are the advantages of an agile approach when developing factoring software?
It allows quick and easy implementation of changes to the system as it is tested (or used), efficient response to changing environment or customer requirements (regulations, user suggestions, end customer habits). This approach also allows new requirements to emerge or to extend those defined earlier as the software evolves.
This approach also reduces the risk of costly changes later in the project. The Agile methodology also emphasizes the comfort of the implementation team on the client side, which knows exactly what stage the product is at, because after each sprint (every 2 weeks) it receives feedback on the progress of the work and can check on an ongoing basis how the new functionalities work.
What do we have to be ready for when deciding on this approach?
In Agile, it is a bit more difficult to predict the final budget of the project, because the requirements for it can constantly change, which affects the amount of resources allocated and the execution time.
To summarize both methodologies:
Waterfall methodology is a linear, sequential approach in which each phase must be completed before moving on to the next. This gives a sense of a clearly defined goal, and once all phases have been carried out, we end up with a finished product that is in line with the original intent.
Agile methodology is an iterative, incremental approach in which small pieces of functionality are developed, tested and delivered to the customer in sprints.
The choice of methodology should depend on the project's requirements, budget, schedule and resources for implementation. Ultimately, the success of a project depends on a number of factors, such as the project team's ability to adapt to a particular methodology, collaborate effectively and deliver high-quality software that meets the client's requirements.
Which approach do we recommend to clients and which one do we ourselves use in the production of Comarch Factoring Platform?
From the perspective of a bank or financial institution looking for a well-crafted factoring or supply chain finance software, the key nowadays is the efficient and flexible adaptation of the solution to the current needs of the clients – widely understood entrepreneurs.
In the absence of a flexible approach to the expectations of such a dynamically developing (e.g., in terms of digitalization of processes) group, such a closed project shortly after implementation becomes not only less attractive to users, but also – in terms of certain functionalities – may prove useless.