Posts Tagged Under: Development Process

Avoiding Ambiguity

Last October, Prime Minister Theresa May caused quite a stir in Parliament when she bravely announced to the world that her Brexit deal was “95 percent complete.” The widespread confusion, however, was wholly understandable. After all, with two years of negotiations behind her, what exactly did that mean? To anyone but her cabinet ministers and EU negotiators, of course, it was simply impossible to know.

The same, however, could easily take place in software development. If we told you that your project was 99 percent complete, however would you know that that pesky last percentage point wouldn’t take twice as long to finalise as the other 99 together? Again, an impossibility. For this reason, in order to avoid all potential ambiguity, Software Planet Group will always steer clear of percentages. Instead, we make use of hours, velocity and complexity points.

For more information, please contact our support team.

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Why We Work with Full-Stack Developers

The “one expert per technology” mindset is as culturally pervasive as it is clearly detrimental, yet its origin is actually understandable. After all, if you have a heart condition, you go see a cardiologist, if your child has a high fever, you’ll likely take him to the paediatrician. General practitioners, on the other hand, are not typically afforded the credit they deserve.

Much in the same way, when it comes to full-stack developers, a lingering myth exists that they are somehow less capable than other software engineers.

For this reason, today we would like to compare narrow expertise and full-stack capabilities and explain why we at Software Planet are significantly more partial to the latter.

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Agile for Larger Projects

It is no secret that when the Agile methodology was first conceived, this was done with fairly small development teams in mind. Yet today, with Agile’s increasing popularity in software companies across the globe, the old adage “less is more” might finally be losing its original punch.

Instead, more and more providers are now tending towards the notion that with a few clever tweaks and tricks, large Agile teams are still able to maintain the same agility as their smaller counterparts.

So without further ado, let us take a look at some of the most prominent scaling techniques available at the moment and explain how we at Software Planet are efficiently rising up to this challenge.

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Software Metrics: How We Promote Transparency

If you’ve ever worked on a project where very little — if any — attempt was made to keep everyone involved up to speed with development, then you’ll certainly understand how infuriating this can be.

In fact, even those who were blessed enough to have never suffered the ordeal will more than likely still relate, at least on an intellectual level. The Dalai Lama, for instance, while never once a software guru, famously stated that “a lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”

And naturally, here at Software Planet, we couldn’t be more in agreement.

This is why we have put in place a series of mechanisms that can guarantee that you, our valued customers, will be kept informed at all times.

Yet of all of these, perhaps the best example is that of our software metrics.

 

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What to Expect from Our Estimates

If you are reading this article, our trusted business analysts have likely agreed to impart upon your project some much-needed estimates; and well, you’ve come to the right place!

After all, for today’s blog post, we would like to spell out our meticulous process for preparing estimations, the different sorts of artefacts you should be ready to receive and how this all will play out in the end — on that note, by the by, if you find that any or all your expectations have not been adequately lived up to, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. This will help SPG to continue improving our company’s services for you as well as our future customers.

So, with this in mind and without further ado, let us dive right in!

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Our Development Process

At Software Planet, we take great pride in our customer-centric development process. This is why from start to finish, a striking sense of partnership is present in all we do.

Still, we recognise that for those with limited exposure to Agile development, an inescapable learning curve may also be perceived; so for this article, we would like to walk you step-by-step through our tried-and-trusted methods.

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The Road to Continuous Deployment

Anyone experienced with traditional IT environments will probably be familiar with the age-old tension between releasing new features and guaranteeing stability. In these unfortunate circumstances, development and production teams work separately from one another, paving the way for a series of issues in both delivery fluidity and compatibility.

This is very much akin to sprucing up a big, circular cake and somehow attempting to fit it into a much smaller — possibly star-shaped — box for delivery. Just as you would likely have to slice the cake up in order to make it fit inside the awkward packaging, due to the natural differences between development and production environments, operations teams must tweak any code that is sent their way.

Of course, in this day and age, the industry demands agility. So in order to get around this issue and expedite the delivery process, here at Software Planet, we make use of continuous deployment — a practice that while admittedly requiring a series of big changes to attain, has the power to take your production capacity to exciting new levels.

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User Stories: Bridging the Gap Between Customers and Developers (Updated)

When choosing a software provider to create the web or desktop solution your company needs, communication is indeed key, but this may be easier said than done. The gap between programmers and customers can quickly become apparent and is often a challenge to master, as most customers are unprepared to discuss their projects from a strictly technical point of view.

In order to get past these difficulties and effectively relay their requirements, some companies resort to UML or workflow diagrams, while yet others go for UI sketches and lengthy free text descriptions.

At Software Planet Group, however, we think both customers and developers should always be on the same page, and speak the same language (see our article on the system metaphor for more on this subject). This is why wherever we can, we aim to simplify the management of requirements, using tried-and-true techniques that enable us to quickly determine the full scope of a project, estimate and re-estimate particular features and releases.

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Best Practices for Evaluating Design

For the artistically disinclined, choosing the look that will one day represent your product or company can often be a time of confusion. After all, what constitutes “good” design anyway? Isn’t all of that subjective?

To a certain extent at least, the answer may be yes, but the real goal of any design team is not simply to achieve something attractive — though that too is clearly important — but to effectively communicate through visual means.

With this in mind, we’ve assembled here some expert tips for assessing and critiquing your team’s design.

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Why Stand-Up Meetings Matter

According to a recent study by the Michigan State University, people who spend a lot of time sitting down are often plagued by slow cognitive function, long-term memory loss and generally poor mental health.

By contrast, the simple act of standing up has been shown to send blood and oxygen pumping throughout our bodies, activating a number of chemicals that not only enhance our brains but also improve our overall mood.

This, however, is merely the scientific case for an Agile practice that over time has proven itself indispensable to development teams across the world, including our own.

We are talking, of course, about stand-up meetings. Whether you know them as “scrums” or “huddles,” the daily stand-up is a powerful practice to increase team unity, coordinate efforts, and share problems and progress in a quick and effective manner.

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