I have written on this topic many times but I feel a need to continue pumping this message out there in hopes that more and more companies will start to move faster with agile project management and implementing new technologies.
Angular is one of the hottest technologies on the market run by parent company Google. They are now sunsetting older versions after just short time periods, and Magento is starting to do the same to force companies to adopt the newer versions faster. The pace of technology is rapidly moving forward and spending 6 months deliberating on a project is not going to cut it. I find that many companies are far behind in technology and they get stuck in very slow processes because they look at new technology as one big massive undertaking or project.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Hence agile project management and agile software development. Agile allows you to start moving forward immediately so that you can quickly begin to iterate on a project and see the visual reality of decisions versus just the ideas on a piece of paper. Need a design? We’ll start building a wireframe or sitemap. Need to test a new platform, install and play around with sample data. There are so many ways too quickly iterate with a real prototype versus spending too much time in the planning phase.
There are many ways to get started on a project that allow you to test and iterate on a platform quickly.
Software development just isn’t the same thing as construction. You don’t need to spend a year planning etc and then years building. You can start right away at a relatively low cost and actual see visual tangible software!
The main crux I think companies face is what is it going to cost to get the final project done! They think by spending so much time upfront they will minimize cost and in some cases that might be true. However, there are ways to test the water and minimize costs without going the waterfall / slow route.
Here is my advice on adopting agile into your business model:
Test the platforms. Many platforms have a free trial and you can play around with sample data or other things at a very low cost. Magento has an open-source version. Shopify has free trials. PWA frameworks are free etc. There is no reason to wait until you finalize all decisions to start playing around with a platform or testing out a new framework.
Itemize the project into mini-projects. Design is its own project and even that can start with wireframes, sitemaps, or simple low fidelity stuff. Data transfer and installing the platform is a great way to get the new platform started on the backend while undergoing design. Each component of the project can become its own mini-project.
Use Modern Systems. Systems like Git for version control, Figma for design, slack for communication, and Jira for project management can allow you to move fast and with many different moving pieces via agency resources, internal resources, and freelancers, etc.
Speed is more important than the final cost. It could be a little more costly to go agile and you could spend sometime inn-efficiently but that money will pale in comparison to the problem of going slow. The web is moving so fast that having a bad website can cost you insane amounts of money in lost potential customers. Also doing a fixed bid big project all at once doesn’t guarantee it will get done on time or budget, it just makes you feel good that it might.
No project is ever complete. Unlike a car or building where you get essentially a final project, software doesn’t work that way. Software is always a work in progress that should improve every day and week with new users, data, new features, content, etc. Adopting agile methodology allows you to think about things in a constant improvement mindset and complete would simply be what you can launch with but then improve later.
The real issue is that most companies just don’t know how to do this effectively or what technologies to choose. Contact Trellis or other professionals to get expert advice on where to go and how to proceed in an agile fashion!