Developing a custom solution isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s the right choice, and other times it makes more sense to go off-the-shelf. But, when it does make sense, history and industry standards suggest we assume what the industry has termed an Agile mindset.
MainSpring uses an Agile mindset, which allows us to be flexible in working with our clients and deliver innovative solutions that meet business goals. To put it simply, having an Agile mindset means uncovering better ways to develop software, and helping others do the same. Agile isn’t a process, and it doesn’t have rules. Instead, it has values—four values, which embody the agile mindset…
1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
While there’s certainly value in a process or tool, we value individuals more. We find that interacting with individuals within an organization is better than promoting a predefined and fixed process, approach or methodology, which may not fit or meet their unique needs. Instead, we carefully listen to clients, and then we work together to create a solution as unique as they are.
2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
We believe that getting working software into the client’s hands early is more important than preparing labor-intensive specification documents. In reality, it’s difficult to really know what a solution should look like until someone has a chance to see it and use an early version.
So, after trying it out, clients will be in a better position to provide feedback. We’re then able to listen to what they like, determine what needs more work and turn their feedback into an iteration (or a solution update). Together, we continually refine the solution with the client until they have exactly what’s needed to meet their unique business needs.
3. Responding to change over following a plan
The Agile mindset for managing change actually increases project stability because change is more predictable and manageable. As new events unfold, we incorporate those realities into the ongoing work. Any new item becomes an opportunity to provide additional value instead of an obstacle to avoid. Some project teams blindly follow a plan, and hope for the best. At MainSpring, we embrace change to develop great solutions that impact our client’s mission and bottom line.
4. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
The Agile pioneers understood that collaboration produces better, leaner, more useful solutions. Because of this understanding, agile solutions are ultimately user-driven.
Using an Agile mindset results in a partnership between MainSpring and our clients—a partnership where the discovery phase fosters ideas and revisions so that learning and adjusting during the course of the project becomes routine, acceptable and systematic. On an Agile project, reviews are built-in, and the client is able to see the solution after each short iteration. What’s more, the client decides the highest-priority features, which gives them the opportunity to ensure maximum value early on andwith little money invested. By allowing changes to features and specifications as the project progresses, the client has direct control over production, as well as the costs associated, which assures that we deliver a well-tested and cost-effective solution that meets their exact needs.
Grasping an Agile mindset can be difficult. It contradicts older, more traditional waterfall principals. It’s not for everyone, but, for those in the public and private sector who have adopted the Agile mindset, it’s proven to be the new industry standard.