Thursday, September 24, 2009

WOLF PaaS supports true Agile Development & implementation methodologies

While working with a new solution partner who has come on-board, I have made the following observations:

IT Solution Partners have traditionally provisioned for limited customer feedback or changes or in other words provisioned for ‘limited iteration’ when it comes to customer project definition & execution phases. While the Agile methodology of developing projects was a major improvement – most software development life cycle methodologies mandates the solution provider to get as close as he can to the customers requirement (Functionality, User Experience, Technology & Delivery) and lock him into a scoping document.

Present day software requirement for customers are very dynamic, especially for the SMBs and start-ups. Customers want their software applications to scale with their business. They would not be very comfortable to define the scope of the entire project in the starting of software design phase as this is a function of how the business grows. At the same time he would like to be rest assured by the service provider that he should not get constrained in the future, by his present infrastructure and software stack in use or design decisions taken now.

Such dynamic software requirements are suited for agile development methodology in its true sense. Agile methods break tasks into small increments with minimal planning, and don’t directly involve long-term scoping. However, to be able to move towards Agile Methodology, IT service providers need to have quite a few things sorted out. There are some key limitations introduced by current infrastructure-software-hardware, etc. that they have to look into. Consider the following 4 scenarios from the application and delivery side of things -

1. How tough and complex can it get to change your basic software design to accommodate additional data elements while you are in the development phase? Ask anyone who has been developing business applications and the answer could very well be: Ooh NO!

2. Can we change or add another validation business process without touching the Database code or User Interface? This is a BIG no!

3. We have gathered additional funding and want our web solution to deliver the same application logic over another channel such as the mobile or SMS. Can we reuse our old mobile UI code and plug the new business logic? No problem, I have to figure out the API’s and this will take time.

4. We would like to setup staging, development environment in our in house servers and multiple deployment environments for higher bandwidth and lower latency for our customers. I am sure; you have provisioned & designed our web application architecture for such deployment & scalable scenarios?

Vision and changes are key elements of success. Customers will demand multifold flexibility as they build systems around every business process and these demands for an every evolving architecture. Shifting to offering solutions in SaaS form built on evolving, adaptive and changing platforms like WOLF empowers IT Service providers to be able to address most of these scenarios effectively.

The infrastructure is being completely taken care by the PaaS providers. Based on their solution requirements the server, database etc. can be chosen without any upfront capital investments. They automate processes from workflows, process diagrams, reports etc. and there is no necessity of programming as well. This makes application development rapid and empowers the IT implementation companies to be agile in its true sense and develop a long lasting relationship with their clients…

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