Everyone seems to be excited and talking about Agile product development these days. Let’s see why.
Getting a product to market is more challenging and competitive than ever before. Adaptability is crucial, and many traditional product development methods overlook the importance of that flexibility.
It’s not that traditional development methods are inherently bad – they simply lack in the necessary flexibility to be effective. The primary objectives of product development are to reduce time to market, increase product quality, and save money, all while delivering a product that exceeds client expectations.
To begin this guide, let’s review the Waterfall model, a more traditional approach to product development that you may already be familiar with.
The Waterfall Development Model
If you can imagine progress flowing from top to bottom in a cascading fashion, you will begin to get a sense of the allegorical origins of the ‘Waterfall’ method.
First used in the manufacturing and construction industries, the Waterfall model follows a sequential design process. In other words, each of its seven phases of development must be satisfied in order to move on to the next. If an error occurs in a later phase, the Waterfall model necessitates returning to an earlier phase in the sequence.
In essence, this results in having to retrace a number of steps in between. Needless to say, a mistake in a later phase can be both expensive and time-consuming.
To put it simply, a model that relies upon moving through only one of seven sequential phases at a time will be slow, tedious, and without flexibility.
Thankfully, the Agile product development methodology has demonstrated the ability to overcome these limitations.
What Is Agile Product Development?
The Agile model calls for a team-based approach to problem solving and product development. As opposed to Waterfall, which takes a sequential approach to task completion, Agile boxes development into phases called ‘sprints.’
Product development using Agile development methodology keeps priorities focused based on their perceived value to the client. As work is completed, conclusions are drawn to considering the timing and planning for upcoming sprints.
The bottom line is that continual input from the client is a necessary component to the Agile model.
Types of Agile Product Development
The Agile product development methodology, as flexible as it is, is often known to take on one of the following variations:
- Extreme Programming (XP): Ideal for software development projects, this variation incorporates many real world applications observed by developers.
- Dynamic System Development Model (DSDM): This variation incorporates the concepts of iteration, incremental delivery, and customer collaboration.
- Scrum: A variation that concentrates on taking an iterative and incremental approach to managing tasks within a team-based environment.
- Lean Development (LD): This variation is best known for creating a smooth workflow, a mentality of ownership, elimination of unnecessary waste, and a demand for high skill levels.
Certainly there are numerous variations to the Agile model, but Scrum is the most widely adopted Agile methodology for its proven effectiveness in development projects.
Process for Agile Product Development
Regardless of the variation on the model itself, the phases – or sprints – of product development using Agile methodology are fundamentally similar to Waterfall:
The main difference, as outlined above, is that input is required from the client upon completion of each phase. This generally results in a more transparent approach to completing the job, early delivery, predictable costs, a more engaging end-user experience, and ultimately more flexibility with respect to unforeseen changes.
Agile Product Development Methodology Is Ideal
A lack of speed and flexibility tend to be the downfall of onshore and offshore product development alike, most often the result of using outdated product development models.
While Waterfall may follow a predictable and routine series of phases, it often overlooks the small yet crucial details necessary in the early phases of the project. It also overemphasizes the end goal, without the due respect and attention the in between steps deserve.
On the other hand, product development using Agile methodology keeps the focus on project quality, customer requirements, and carefully prioritized work phases, or sprints.
Consider using Agile product development methodology for your next major project – the flexibility and team-oriented collaboration will add immeasurable value to the final product.
Outsourcing product development projects most often results in an effectively executed project. This is especially true when it comes to developing software as a service (SaaS) solutions, which can present a unique and compelling list of challenges.
Fortunately, outsourcing SaaS product development has never made more economical sense. Outsourcing multiple different types of projects has grown on a significant scale in recent history, and SaaS product development is a prime example.
Through this post, we will explore what makes SaaS development different, the necessary ingredients for successful SaaS product development, how offshore SaaS development has evolved over the past two decades, and how you can ultimately benefit from outsourcing your SaaS product development.
SaaS Product Development Is Different
SaaS product development is different in many respects from the development of more traditional products. This is largely due to the sheer volume and scale to which the product is being developed.
Development teams need to be highly skilled and adept to truly understand the end goal for the product, and to plan technical advancements and deployments accordingly.
As a result, maintaining an existing SaaS product – or developing a new one – in-house can be both expensive and frustrating. The availability of required skillsets are often challenging to acquire, hiring qualified developers is usually a time consuming and expensive process, and the changing landscapes of technology are sure to further complicate the issue.
Effective SaaS product development necessitates a crystal clear vision, a well-defined plan, and the ability to swiftly react to new challenges as they arise.
The Ingredients of Successful SaaS Product Development
The following ingredients can often be found in successful SaaS developments:
- Effective use of offshore SaaS development
- Implementation of Agile development methodology
- Sufficiently qualified and capable product developers
The absence of any of these three factors has been known to slow or halt product development projects, or to significantly increase the demand on your most valuable of resources – time, money, and energy.
Offshore SaaS development, as this article will go on to explain, is important to acquire sufficient skillsets in a cost effective manner.
Agile development methodology offers a communication-oriented, team-based approach to product development, offering the additional benefits of flexibility and speed.
Qualified and capable developers are the cornerstone of any SaaS product development. By choosing to assemble a distributed offshore team, the precious aforementioned resources of time, money and energy can be wisely invested.
The Evolution of Offshore SaaS Development
Global developments in internet technology have made offshore SaaS development not only possible, but necessary to remain competitive.
For instance, applications such as Skype and Google Hangouts have created the unprecedented ability for every team member to see, communicate, and share with each other regardless of geographic location.
Furthermore, project management applications such as Jira and Basecamp allow teams to sort complex SaaS product development tasks into meaningful phases, or sprints.
Dramatic changes in the last two decades have resulted in an assortment of emerging markets, such as India, to become a globally recognized powerhouse in effectively managing outsourced product development work.
Well before the turn of the century, SaaS product development was not a major component of most developed markets. Instead, the primary industries at the time related to manufacturing and textiles. Fast forward to today and we find that outsourcing is not only a common business practice, but the service sector now dominates the economies of developed nations.
Why Outsourcing Saas Product Development Is a Good Idea
Outsourcing SaaS product development results in a number of key benefits to your business, including:
- Decreased costs and hence improved profit margins
- Access to larger pools of talented and capable developers
- Improved operational efficiency thanks to diminished internal strain on resources
- Increased team efficiency, with particular respect to Agile development methodology
“Any project to be done at significant scale, including SaaS product development, needs to be outsourced for optimal efficiency”
Do you agree with this statement?
What has your experience been with offshore development, with particular reference to SaaS products?
Does your development team take an Agile, iteration-based approach to product development?
What other benefits are there to offshore SaaS development?
We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below