One of the most difficult principles of Agile Software Development to actually implement is the principle of welcoming change. Two of the statements of values in the Agile manifesto are:
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Both of these statements lead to the idea that Agile Software Development welcomes changes from customers and other stakeholders in the project. The Software Development team aims to gather feedback by developing frequent releases through developing the software in a series of iterations. A customer, changing their minds concerning the requirements of a project, isn’t viewed as a problem, which can be in sharp contrast to how a lot of methodologies approach the topic of requirements changing. This incorporation of feedback and customer involvement is an important contribution to the success of Agile methodologies as it leads to the development of software that customers really want. Following this principle is no easy task because the application of this principle needs to start at the very beginning of a project. Guides to implementing Agile Software Development frequently mention the role of the executive sponsor, and other business oriented roles within a company which need to buy-in and support an initiative to introduce Agile Software Development. But in a Software Development company that develops bespoke software directly for customers, the business people in the company need to understand and stick to the principles of Agile Software Development likewise.
There may be support for Agile Software Development in a project of all members but the general perception amongst the business people is that it is one area which the developers do, and does not directly concern them. As much of the material available on Agile Software Development does specifically concern Software Development teams, that is quite an understandable assumption to make. In a company developing bespoke software, the client needs to be made aware of the nature of an Agile Software Development project, and a contract needs to be negotiated that is compatible with the chosen methodology. And it’s the business people who are associated with a project that usually hold the responsibility of setting the customer’s expectations for a project and negotiating the contract.
Customers not really acquainted with Software Development expect that when negotiating a new project with a Software Development company that the process is quite like purchasing almost every other goods and services. The client explains what they need, they agree a price together with a delivery date, and the customer then waits for it to be achieved. The Software Development company will not want to challenge these expectations for the fear of making a customer uncomfortable, and potentially losing their business. This often leads to a binding agreement that mirrors these expectations. The customer continues to expect that the software, by the release date, is going to be ready and do everything the customer wants, and they only need to wait.
However it is inevitable that the customer will need to provide feedback on the software and will be very keen to make some changes. In the above scenario the client is going to find themselves giving their feedback at a time towards the release date when they actually get to see the software.
These changes are unlikely to be very welcome to the Software Development company at this point. In practice these requests for changes results in friction between the customer and the Software Development company, possibly bringing about arguments between the company and the customer. The company will believe that these requirements wasn’t specified originally when the contract was signed and demand additional cash to implement these changes. If the customer agrees, a new contract will need to be negotiated. On the other hand the company may agree to do these changes for free given that the customer is without a doubt quite upset that the software does not do what the customer wants. The more often these changes are handled for free; the company gets closer to generating a loss on the project. In both of these scenarios, the project is sure to be late.
If the development team itself is trying to be Agile and is developing the project in iterations, the case is often improved through getting feedback from the customer earlier on in the project. But if the contract remains to be the same, these changes will still be unwelcome to the business people associated with the project. They will be seen as an extra expense and the developers are going to be instructed to extend the time on making these changes until a new or revised contract can be negotiated. Once the business people perceive that changes will be happening between iterations and that this needs addressing, they should recognise that a new approach will probably be required in future for making new contracts with customers. An effective option that they might choose is to try to break down the ‘development’ of the project into separate, ready planned phases and then make this the substance of the contract. This approach doesn’t challenge the customer’s expectations of being certain of the outcome of a project, and so it appears like a safe option. At the start of a project, a customer is frequently quite positive that they know what they aspire to. In practice, actually seeing and using the software might most likely make the customer consider the project in a whole lot more depth than they had previously.
This phased approach to making contracts is not going to solve the issue of welcoming changes and introduces new problems. When the first phase of the project completes, the customer gets to use the software for the first time and starts making requests for changes. As a consequence the next phase will have to be planned again. If the original phases were time estimated then the next phase will require a new estimation from the development team. And the business people will have to create a new contract for the next phase. Normally, this approach will demand a large administrative overhead for relatively small amounts of work. The customer can also be likely to get impatient over the length of time it takes just to get some more work done. More steps need to be taken to effectively develop within an iterative fashion.
In an ideal scenario, the people setting the customer’s expectations for the project would have bought in to the concept of Agile Software Development and grasp the principles involved. They would have the responsibility of also convincing the customer of these benefits and negotiating a contract that works well with their chosen methodology. Three typical customer expectations shall be challenged during this process:
- that they already know exactly what they want
- that they can be certain of what to expect at the end of the project
- that the Software Development company is exclusively responsible for the success of the project
To convince the customer that developing the project the Agile way is a good idea; the benefits need to be emphasised:
- That they can change their minds if they want, when they want
- Their changes will be incorporated in to their application quickly with minimal administrative overhead
- They will not have to wait long to see their changes in the software
- The application developed will be what they want it to be not now but what they want on the release date
- They will have an important role in guiding the development of the project throughout its development
There are of course trade-offs for these benefits:
- The customer can’t be certain what they are certain to get at the end of the project when signing the contract
- The criteria for the success of the project will change with time and will not be stated explicitly in the contract as a detailed specification
- The customer must take an enthusiastic role participating in the project. The project’s success all hangs on on the effectiveness of the collaboration between the customer and the Software Development team.
- The customer will have to prioritise their changes, choosing which ones are developed first and which of them have to be dropped when necessary
A compatible contract will likely not state a detailed project plan, and make that plan a binding agreement for the Software Development company. General, advanced level requirements will be used as the success criteria for the project.
In return the contract will enable the customer to request changes to the project when the customer wants to. A formal definition of how changes are handled will be included in the contract. This definition will match the methodology used by the Software Development team. With most Agile methodologies this will mean that the development team will incorporate these changes in the next iteration following the change request from the customer. The contract will also not contain specific time estimations for high level requirements. It will instead contain an iteration schedule. A contract that welcomes change is a contract that does not have to be changed.
While the process described is known as change, this term doesn’t accurately describe the all that is taking place. A changing business environment can motivate changes in requirements but what is happening most often is the creation of new ideas for the software from both the customers and the development team. It is part of the creative process that makes the software and it is definitely something that ought to be welcomed.
Most business today, graphic and IT businesses idm crack in particular, are in need of legal and efficient computer software. However, this can be quite expensive especially for beginners. Good thing there are licensed software available at much affordable price than the product’s suggested retail price. You can find and purchase these discount software online.
Even though there is a lot of inexpensive computer software on the Internet, some people are anxious when buying because of the widespread online fraud and scam happening these days. Even so, hunting for the cheapest deals on stores can be challenging. But if you shop around, you can certainly find good deals on discount software. All you need are some tips on how to avoid the frauds.
Safe Discount Software Programs
The Internet is indeed an extremely engaging place due to the amount of stuffs you can find and discover. Shopping for discount software online can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time to purchase it on the Internet. There are things you need to learn beforehand about how to search for websites that offer the best deals on the most popular software programs.
To do this, you have to understand coupon code sources, comparison shopping and the websites that offer educational discounts on computer software. If you are either upgrading your software or buying a new one, it is very important that you know exactly what you are looking for.
- Research the specific product you want and look for reviews. Online discount shops allow users who have bought the product to post comments and share their experiences about the software. This will make it easier for you to decide whether buying the program is worth its price.
- Your computer has to meet the requirements of the software. If you are not sure about this, you may talk with your computer technician.
- Check the descriptions and features of the software before making the final decision of purchasing it. A lot of times, companies do not allow refund once the product has been opened and used. Make sure that it is the software has the type of program you need before paying it.
- Scams and frauds are very common when buying online. Make sure to only buy from reputable websites that guarantee genuine software and high quality customer service. Double check the information and make sure you have a copy of every purchase transaction details.
- Check the website’s policy regarding the procedure, charges, shipping fees and mode of payment. Paying through PayPal or credit card is highly recommended when buying online.
Buying Genuine Software for Less
Here are some pointers to take note when purchasing licensed software programs on the Internet that come with discounts.
1. Make sure to compare the different available software. There are sites that provide comparison for software shopping. Just because you find a popular site, doesn’t mean it offers the best deals. Widen your research and make good use of the Internet for this.
2. Do not forget to check the extras such as shipping fees. There are sites that offer free shipping, but make sure the price is still reasonable. Others do offer free shipping cost, but they are much more expensive than others. See if the price is balanced and appropriate for the services provided.
3. If there is a specific software program that you want to buy, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and join their email list or follow their blog, Facebook page or Twitter. This way, you will be updated if they have posted any new deals.
4. If you want to save money, prefer getting the upgraded versions of the software that are already in your computer. Most software companies offer discount upgrade for people who already have an older version of their products. You can check out your existing software and see if you already own an older version of the software you want to buy.
5. There are companies that will ask you to purchase their software upgrade with certain requirements. Go to the company’s website to know what these requirements are.
6. Most software companies offer big discounts for their full version software but only to registered users of their trial versions. Turns out, registering your email is worth it after all.
7. Before you buy any software, check how many computers the program is eligible to run on. There are software programs that can only be used on three computers such as the Microsoft Office Home. Some programs are available in family packs, wherein the price will be cheaper for each computer.
8. If you need specific features in your program, pick the software that includes these features. There are programs that come with multiple features, but they also cost more. You will be able to save considerable amount if you purchase a program with just the features you need.
9. If you decide to use coupon codes with your order, make sure the company permits the use of all the promotions. In most cases, using several discounts is not allowed if the product is already on sale. If so, the coupons may not be used into your shopping cart.
10. Students of specific educational institutions, including staff members and faculty are given numerous discount software offers by companies such as Microsoft, Coral, Apple, Adobe, Google (SketchUp) and Symantec. These programs are the same with the retail versions. However, you cannot use them for commercial purposes.