How to De-Risk Application Development

Building and maintenance of software is a tricky business. From high overheads to understanding customer wants, developers face multiple challenges in meeting the goals. Due to conflicting priorities, lack of clarity in responsibilities, or improper process implementation, day-to-day operational activities get hampered. Application development teams find it challenging to develop future-proof applications, tackle backlog-related issues, drive ownership in long-term projects, bring costs down, and manage attrition in the team. This increases the emphasis on strategic planning for efficient risk management.

What are some common risks in application development, and how can an Agile approach mitigate them? Let’s find out.

#1: App definition

Most applications start as an idea. Asking the right set of questions to draw contours of requirements and give it shape is critical. The process is highly dependent on client feedback and iterations. Not validating and testing hypotheses early will result in significant cost and effort overrun. The result may be a departure from what was initially conceived. Also, it needs to be future proof.

Solution POC and prototyping demonstrate functionality and verifies feasibility. The key is translating abstract ideas to functional specifications/features backlog or a rapid proof-of-concept/prototype to gather feedback to validate hypothesis and test ideas. Build today, but plan for tomorrow.

#2: Partner speaks Agile, but there is a black-box scenario

Feature backlogs need to be triaged and appropriately prioritized. Sprint cycles can be long and unfruitful if developers bite off more than they can chew, or the scrum is not run well. What you get at the end of every sprint must be tangible and lend itself to deployment and market testing. Corrections and feedback need to be rapid.

Solution By understanding business priorities and are in sync with customer needs, Agile quickly determines what should come first. The key is sorting out features, prioritizing tasks, and quick iterations. The team ensures short turnarounds with feedback implementation.

#3: Working across time zones

One of the biggest challenges is to be able to drive ownership and coordination of scrum across time zones. Co-ownership and co-engineering of application between business owners and development partners rarely happen. Teams land up working across time zones and losing productivity.

Solution Daily standups, structured communication, routine check-ins, and real-time collaboration in the organization can keep teams in multiple time zones on the same page at all times.

  1. 4: Deployment & DevOps

    Building applications that are deployment-ready is no easy task, particularly in hybrid environments. Struggles with rapid deployments can deter customer/market feedback, cost significant money, and be detrimental to the quality of builds.

Solution Systems, tools, and processes for CI/CD aim at minimizing weak areas during deployment and release processes. By testing, reviewing, and running test cases automatically, DevOps facilitates a collaborative approach while enhancing code quality and providing reports.

5: Budget overruns

Application development in iterative cycles can fall into the trap of endless iterations on the same feature or over-engineering without real market feedback. It will then require more intensive project management, additional resources, and highly skilled talent for risk analysis.

Solution True Agile allows development spending in a metered manner, only paying for what is deployed and not for effort. Agile practices find a way not to build unused functionality. By focusing on the business value of every activity, the development team decreases the risk of cost overruns by avoiding costly activities that do not provide value.

#6: People risks

Large application development projects could face churn in the team. When high performers leave for better opportunities elsewhere, development teams find it hard to protect knowledge, onboard new members, and keep the development failproof.

Solution Agile encourages completing small batches of work. It is all about project planning, creating visibility into roles, hiring mitigation plans, and knowledgebase documentation. Agile teams are transparent with their progress by continually collecting status reports.

From team processes to development practices, everything in Agile is purposely simple. With a focus on business value, Agile minimizes technical debt and accurately estimates the work involved in a project. Rapid and iterative delivery decreases the risk of building the wrong functionality that fails to solve the user’s problem. Agile teams collaborate much more effectively than other software models in de-risking application development projects.

To know more about de-risking application developments and Agile technologies to transform your business radically, talk to an expert today.

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