Earlier, software development teams typically used the waterfall approach where requirements were handed over to engineering and the final product was then handed over to quality assurance. Over the years, product development has changed to cater to market requirements, where teams collaborate and work together on each step of the process to build a better product more quickly. This is precisely what we call “Producteering” at Aspire Systems, where working software is released frequently.
A great analogy to this would be the biological evolution, where it begins with experimentation (mutation and recombination), exploration (survival of the fittest) and refinement (producing more of the survivors). Increasingly, product development follows this analogy, where it has switched from a process based on anticipation (define, design and build) to one based on adaptation (envision, explore and adapt).
In today’s digest, we will take this opportunity to recount one of the success stories where Aspire adopted iterative development. This was a music vending product that we developed for one of our customers and the salient features of the process followed were:
â€¢ Beyond the next iteration, the team didn’t know the features that would be included in the next development iterations
â€¢ The team had a clear product vision and a general idea about the features needed in the product
â€¢ There was active involvement from our customer’s product marketing organization
â€¢ There was an absolute time deadline and resource constraints, which the team was very aware of
â€¢ The team had a overall product platform architecture
â€¢ Within the above, team delivered tested features every two weeks and then adapted their plans to the reality of actual product testing
The team’s process was one of evolution and adaptation, not planning and optimization. In the end, product was delivered on time, met high quality standards, and has been a success in the marketplace. The team didn’t start with anticipated architectures and plans but with a vision followed shortly by the first iteration of the product. The rest evolved as the team adapted to the reality of the market and the technology.