- What do we mean by flexibility in software development?
- Why do start-ups need a flexible software house?
- Flexibility in the era of changes and building sustainability
Not every project can be 100% controlled from the very beginning. Sometimes flexibility is needed - especially if we create software for start-ups, competitive industries, or new, innovative products.
How to stay flexible and keep up the good work? Let's take a closer look at flexibility as a valuable trait in software development.
What do we mean by flexibility in software development?
There are two ways to approach flexibility in software development.
- Flexibility in software engineering is the ability of the system to respond to uncertainty in a way that allows it to function normally.
- Software house flexibility in projects is the ease with which the project team is open to changes in assumptions, goals, or the course of the process.
So we can look into the importance of flexibility from the product or project team's side. Here we will explore the second approach and show how it inevitably affects the first one.
Flexibility in IT project management is required whenever the environment is dynamic. And that is... almost always. Nowadays, there are few situations in which the project is totally predictable, and the path to its delivery looks like a straight, glorious highway.
In an environment of continuous change, the flexibility of project teams is of utmost importance. Quoting the study Structure and flexibility of project teams under turbulent environments:
The extent of authority and autonomy granted to the project manager and the individual team members has a significant impact on the ability of the project team to meet stakeholders' goals and expectations. This is particularly true in dynamic environments, where resources, requirements, and other conditions change rapidly, and a great deal of innovation is required.
In software development, a way to ensure flexibility in applying agile methodologies from the very start of the project.
Being agile adaptable is a way to respond to changing project assumptions safely and effectively.
Example of the flexible approach - KYOTO project
We have recently completed a complex project in the renewable energy industry. Working with KYOTO (see the KYOTO case study), we had to challenge our plans, expand the scope and redefine our assumptions at least a few times.
KYOTO about Order Group:
They are above average in their flexibility, trying out a business model that was unknown to them, supporting our way of working, and delivering efficiently. We trust them.
Flexibility in the KYOTO project was visible both in the use of SCRUM and in our ability to respond to the changing concept of the start-up's target product.
The Kyotopia project has taught us that the SCRUM/Agile approach has virtually no disadvantages - it all depends on how people feel about it. Kyotopia has allowed us to refine our understanding of agile management.
It was our first industrial IoT project for the energy industry, and we succeeded. All thanks to flexibility. Why was it especially needed in this project? There are three main reasons.
- The project's original goal was to build a CSP plant. It evolved to creating the end-to-end system to test, design, and deliver a power plant, and eventually, KYOTO focused on energy storage and the battery itself. If not for our openness to changes, we would experience those goal alterations as a severe business obstacle.
- Due to its scale, the project required the participation of many companies that had to cooperate with each other. Each of these companies represented a slightly different style of management, which one team dealing with project coordination was trying to put together. We were ready to adapt our processes to the client's requirements and other teams participating in the project.
- Finally, the budget. As goals change, estimates need adjustments. Thanks to the time & material approach based on long-term but flexible evaluation, we could cushion changes and propose improvements that would benefit both parties.
Why do start-ups need a flexible software house?
The world of start-ups is ruled by competition. As the data for 2021 shows, only 40% of start-ups have a chance to become profitable, and 58% have less than $ 25,000 at the start.
There are few winners in this game, and resources at the beginning are often much smaller than a while later, in the development phase. So how bold should the concept be? What if there is additional funding, and what if there is none? Since there may be more money, should we do something else, something better? How advanced should our MVP be?
These and more questions start-up founders ask themselves when they dream of winning in the following rounds. Along with changes in the business situation, there are changes in the plan and scope of work.
A software house that cooperates with start-ups must know that fluctuations and dynamics are their bread and butter. And the task of the team of developers, tech leads, and PMs is to manage the project to enable them to adapt to inevitable changes. It's a no-go without flexibility.
Flexibility in the era of changes and building sustainability
In today's world, more and more attention is paid not to innovation, competitiveness, and uniqueness but to sustainable development.
Solutions that support sustainable development must take into account a dynamically changing world. That applies to industrial and engineering projects and security systems or even improvements in global communication.
Many factors should be taken into account when designing daring software. But, to get a full grasp of them, you need one thing. And that is flexibility.
If you want to know more about sustainability, go to the article: Want to Reach the Sustainable Development Goals in your Enterprise? Focus on IoT!