Written by Matt Simmonds
Oct 13, 2016

Agile Development v Fixed Price

What is Agile Development and why do we use it?

Agile Development is not a new phenomenon

The concept of ‘Agile Development’ originally derived from ‘The Agile Manifesto’. This was created by seventeen representatives from across the tech industry at a ski resort in Utah in 2001 (true story). 

It has evolved over time but still remains fairly consistent to the original values presented back in 2001.

'What did you say?'

Despite its history and standing within the tech and development industry, we recognise for many of our clients, it may be little more than the backdrop to a new and baffling language of bizarre acronyms and seemingly incoherent jargon (hopefully our glossary can be of help). 

In this article, we’ll attempt to demystify the concept and explain why we’ve adopted this methodology in place of a more traditional ‘fixed price’ model of working.

In a sentence

Agile Development is a group of software development methodologies based on iterative and incremental development.

Or, to put it another way - we collaborate with our clients to move their idea from concept to reality step-by-step. Working together we’ll evolve and improve the project little-by-little to produce a user-friendly, highly effective product.

We’re all at it

Across the tech industry, Agile Development has been widely adopted. We don’t know of any serious software development companies that aren’t agile for the majority, if not all, of their projects.

To give just one instance - the UK Government deploys Agile Development across all their software development, in all their departments. 

Why we are Agile

We believe Agile Development is the best route we could take (on any project) for our clients.

It’s not a matter of our preferences, or what it is fashionable in the industry. We’re not subservient to the zeitgeist. Simply put, Agile Development will give you a superior end-product, better value for money and an all-round more pleasurable and effective experience of working with us.

Your customers will be happier, you’ll be happier and so will we.

"We believe Agile Development is the best route we could take (on any project) for our clients"

Fixed v Agile

First of all, let’s deal with some myths and common misconceptions around Agile Development.

‘The only way to keep my project within budget is by agreeing a fixed-price’. 

This statement might be true if we knew how much your app was going to cost to develop.

And of course, to know exactly who much it was going to cost, we’d need to know not only the exact (and final) specification but also precisely how long each element of design and development would cost (assuming there were no hiccups or technical challenges in the process).

Even if we knew all these factors in advance you (the client) would have no room for any adjustments, additions, corrections or improvements along the way. 

Of course, we could build in some contingencies and plan for some unforeseen eventualities but that just means that before we’ve even started we’ve blown your budget.

Our article How much does an app cost? explains this in more detail.

‘With Agile the sky’s the limit - I can’t control my budget’

Actually, the reverse is true. Agile Development gives you more control not less. Our collaborative approach means you get to give agreement to every new iteration and approve the project at each stage of the journey. 

This control extends beyond just finances, you’ll be able to play an active part in working with our designers and developers. You’ll get to see the development taking place in real time.

This will ensure the final app is exactly what you want and serves your customers perfectly.

‘Agile blows all my deadlines out the water’

Agile doesn’t mean everything is flexible. 

We employ adaptive and flexible development practices but always with a clear (and pre-agreed) framework of phases of work with accompanying deadlines. We call these sprints.

Each sprint will take 1-2 weeks and at the end of each stage, you’ll be able to review and test what we’ve been working on.

‘Agile means I need to leave it all in the developer’s hands’

The way Agile works, at least here at Brightec, involves significant interaction and collaboration. 

We highly value face-to-face analysis and we believe that problems are best solved in person.

‘But what if we change our mind?’

We’re always striving to deliver the best products and often that means that we’ll suggest new additions or functionality to improve your app. Or, during user research we discover that your users would prefer something quite unexpected. Perhaps even, your boss just changes your plans! 

Agile allows for all these scenarios and more. It means we can chop, change and improve without incurring huge additional costs or frustrating time delays.

We’d be delighted to talk with you about how Agile Development can release the potential in your digital strategy.

Talk to us about your app today.

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