SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · March 30, 2020

With the rapidly growing popularity of digital entrepreneurship and business process digitization, demand for software products is at an all time high.

Due to the accelerating demand, global competition, as well as other factors like the increased use of outsourcing, low development costs and faster time-to-market are quickly becoming top priorities over product quality.

 

“Why should I care?” you might ask.

If you are planning to, or already in the process of developing a software product, ignoring the quality side of the process can easily lead to wasting the entire development budget and severely hurting your business.

Throughout our work we’ve encountered many software projects that were struggling to move forward because the code base had gotten so unstable that it was difficult, or straight up impossible to develop further. In a few cases, more than 12 months worth of development investment would have resulted in an unusable product without intervention.

 

The goal of this article is to highlight the importance of maintaining high source code quality throughout the software product life cycle. We will talk about the possible effects of low-quality code on your project (and entire business) and list effective ways to ensure high product quality.

 

 

What does high source code quality mean?

To avoid being vague, first let us try to elaborate on what we mean by high source code quality.

High quality code means that you source code must perform well with regard to the following:

  • Performance – The software is optimized in terms of size, memory consumption, input/output operations, ect.
  • Readability – The source code is easy to follow, standards of indentation and formatting are met, so that the code and its structure are clearly visible.
  • Maintainability – Signifies the efficiency by which the code base can be understood, repaired, or enhanced.
  • Compatibility – The software’s ability to properly run on all intended devices and operating systems.
  • Security – The code base is continuously being checked for vulnerabilities like malicious code that can be discovered and exploited by outside parties.
  • Understandability – The code is easy to understand for new developers in the future for increased time-efficiency.
  • Documentation – All-inclusive and up-to-date source code documentation is written throughout the project.

 

 

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What does low-quality code look like?

Now that we’ve established what high source code quality actually means, you probably have an idea about what poor code looks like. If a code base is lacking in the qualities listed above, it is considered low quality.

To be more specific, low-quality source code:

  • has poor performance (too large file sizes, runs slowly),
  • is difficult to read and understand for developers,
  • is difficult (and expensive) to maintain and develop further,
  • has compatibility issues with different devices and operating systems,
  • has easily exploitable vulnerabilities,
  • is poorly documented.

 

In our opinion, it’s a bad idea to wait to check the quality of your product’s source code before live release. By that point, fixing these issues becomes much more expensive and time-consuming than it should be.

This is why source code should be written following high quality standards in the first place. We talk about ways to achieve this in the sections below.

 

How does poor source code quality affect a project or business?

Technical debt is “a concept in software development that reflects the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.”

It’s pretty much the software development term for sweeping issues under the rug that you’ll have to deal with later. Constantly choosing the easy way out has real consequences for long-term projects. Too much technical debt can eventually cripple the development process entirely.

 

technical debt source code quality

Dilbert by Scott Adams

 

The symptoms of low-quality code only start to appear in later project stages, by the time software features are getting more complex. This only makes them more dangerous.

If developers don’t review the source code frequently, by the time they notice something’s wrong, it’s usually too late. Development tasks start to take longer to complete, bug fixes take up more and more of the team’s time, missing deadlines and prolonging crucial updates.

From a business perspective, software product development is an investment from which you expect a return – so just like any other. This return can come in the form of revenues if we’re talking about an SaaS solution, or cost savings and increased efficiency if we’re talking about software for internal, organizational use.

However, with a low-quality product that doesn’t sell, or effectively improve internal processes, your chances for a return drop significantly. In more severe cases, if the final product doesn’t reach live release at all, the development project can be considered a complete loss. This can mean multiple tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of pointless spending, which can be crippling for most businesses.

If you can’t maintain an acceptable level of code quality, the “best case” scenario is that you’ll eventually get a working product, but at a much higher total investment cost.

Poor source code quality can also negatively impact customers’ perception of your product, and the whole organization. If a new release receives overly negative reviews from early users, it will take a lot of time and effort to win them over. While experience shows this isn’t impossible, it’s still better to prevent a fire from starting than having to put it out!

 

How can you ensure high code quality?

If you don’t have the necessary technical knowledge, it will be difficult for you to assess code quality without help from the development team. You’ll most likely only notice client-side issues related to speed, device compatibility and others directly affecting the user experience.

A common practice is to hire a third-party consultant to help with this part of the project. If this is not an option, however, the development team must introduce their own quality assurance and code review processes for quality management.

 

Quality assurance testing

Quality assurance, or QA testing should be an essential part of the software development life cycle. Its goal is to validate the quality and functionality of the software before release, and make sure that the final product provides the best possible user experience.

The main benefit of QA testing is detecting bugs and errors in the software well before it gets released.

 

Here are a few widely-used types of QA testing:

  • Usability testing – Checking if end users will be able to easily use and understand the software. Helps identify usability issues and improve user experience.
  • Compatibility testing – Verify that the software works perfectly on devices with various screen sizes, running different operating systems. In case of web applications, this includes testing cross-browser compatibility as well.
  • Functional testing – Checking whether the software works in accordance with feature specifications and business requirements.
  • Performance testing – Also known as load and stress testing. It means testing the robustness and stability of the software under extreme conditions.
  • Security testing – Systematically checking the software for exploitable vulnerabilities. Today there’s a whole separate field in IT specializing in security testing called Ethical Hacking.

 

Code review & analysis

Code review is also a kind of quality assurance activity, where a software developer checks an already written source code for errors and bugs. Apart from manual code reviews, there are also a lot of automated tools available for static and dynamic code analysis.

Code review is a process by which developers review each other’s source code. The two roles present in a peer code review are:

  • The author: the person responsible for developing the code being reviewed.
  • The reviewer: the person who is responsible for examining the code.

 

Some commonly used code review methods:

  • Over-the-shoulder reviews – When the author writes a code and simply calls the reviewer over to have a look at it.
  • Email pass-around reviews – Most open-source projects prefer this form of code review. Here, the author emails complete files to reviewers. Reviewers then examine the files and suggest changes.
  • Pair-programming – Two developers write code together at the same workstation.

 

Apart from improved source code quality, code reviews also make it easier to train new development team members. In the long run, they lead to the team having a more consistent coding style overall, improving the whole development process as well.

For larger code bases, your team will likely have to use automated code analysis tools as well. The difference between static and dynamic code analysis is already in their names.

Static code analysis tools examine the source code without executing it, dynamic analysis is conducted while the code is being run. Code analysis tools help developers save a huge amount of time on fixing errors by identifying them in a matter of seconds.

 

Our own team mainly uses these code analysis tools:

  • Checkstyle – a static code analysis tool used in software development for checking if Java source code complies with coding rules.
  • StyleCop – a static code analysis tool from Microsoft that checks C# code for conformance to StyleCop’s recommended coding styles and a subset of Microsoft’s .NET Framework Design Guidelines.
  • PMD – or Programming Mistake Detector is an open source static source code analyzer that reports on issues found within application code.
  • CPD – or Copy/Paste Detector is PMD’s duplicate code detection for (e.g.) Java, JSP, C, C++, ColdFusion, PHP and JavaScript code.
  • ESLint – a static code analysis tool for identifying problematic patterns found in JavaScript code.
  • TSlint – static analysis tool that checks TypeScript code for readability, maintainability, and functionality errors.
  • ReSharper – a group of products that provides a series of features for Visual Studio developers including code analysis, refactoring, navigation, test runner, build runner, etc.
  • JUnit – a unit testing framework for Java often used in test-driven development
  • JaCoCo – an open-source toolkit for measuring and reporting Java code coverage.

For version tracking:

  • GitLab – a web-based DevOps lifecycle tool that provides a Git-repository manager providing wiki, issue-tracking and CI/CD pipeline features.
  • Bitbucket – also web-based version control repository hosting service for source code and development projects that use either Mercurial or Git revision control systems.

 

So what should the development methodology look like?

There is no such thing as a perfect, one-size-fits all development methodology for all teams and all industries. The recommendations in this section are based on our own experience and preferences.

We recommend using an Agile methodology based on Scrum or Kanban. Scrum in particular can be very beneficial for product owners to keep a close eye on the project’s progress. Frequent communication and product demos allow you to have a good overview of the newly completed features and even test them yourself.

This methodology also helps your team break down large and complex projects into smaller, more manageable chunks called sprints. These are 2 weeks long by default, and they contain a previously agreed-upon set of user stories and development tasks.

 

dedicated project manager scrum board

Scrum board example

 

As for team composition, QA testers and senior code reviewers should be integral parts of both small and larger teams. If you have to coordinate the work of multiple parties, a dedicated project manager can also be a valuable addition to the crew.

Here is an example of our own team’s composition for most projects:

 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all methodology. Copy-pasting the Agile manifesto for your team won’t be an ideal solution.

This is why we only recommend it as an outline for your process. It will be up to you to optimize each aspect of the methodology to fit your organization and team composition as much as possible.

We also do this sprint after sprint with our own clients, which is why we recommend it to others. For example, it might not make sense for a larger team to hold daily stand-up meetings, because.they can’t make real progress in 15 minutes. In this case, it might be better to organize a single, longer weekly team meeting instead.

Most other aspects of this methodology can be optimized in similar ways as well.

 

To Summarize

While low code quality is rarely among the leading agenda during product management meetings, it is an increasingly important topic for businesses that rely on custom-built software to grow.

Apart from drastically increasing development costs and time – hurting profit margins -, low source code quality also negatively impacts customer satisfaction.

When it comes to software products, you only have a few seconds to form a positive first impression with users. If their first experience with your product is slow, clunky, or results in a crash, you will need to invest a lot of time and effort to better their opinions.

Instead of having to put out the fires, prevent them by integrating coding standards, quality assurance testing and code review into your development process as early as possible. While it may just seem like extra work early on, it will most definitely save you a lot of headache and resources in the long run.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

NewsBY RabIT software engineering · March 18, 2020

The company’s CEO Nat Friedman announced on the 16th of March that GitHub has acquired NPM, the world’s largest software registry.

 

 

The npm Registry is a public collection of packages, open-source code for Node.js, front-end web apps, mobile apps, robots, routers, and countless other needs of the JavaScript community. The registry was created in 2009 to help JavaScript developers easily share packaged modules of code. Since then, it has largely contributed to the expansion of JS technology and its community as well.

GitHub itself is one of the world’s largest software development platforms that provides hosting for software version control using Git. Microsoft acquired the company back in 2018. At first, the developer community was concerned about the future of the platform and its open source projects.

Since then, Microsoft hasn’t done anything to risk losing the trust of the GitHub community. On the contrary, they have added new features to aid the community such as Actions and Projects.

Nonetheless, the same concern rises again now that GitHub has acquired npm. The largest one is that Microsoft now controls an overwhelming part of the JavaScript ecosystem, which has always been open source.

 

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Of course, the company promises to keep things the way they are and only improve on user experience and introduce new features.

In the announcement Friedman promises that npm “will always be available and always be free”. Their key focus after closing the deal will be to:

  • Invest in the registry infrastructure and platform. This is crucial because of the rapidly growing JavaScript ecosystem. They promise they will make the investments necessary to maintain speed, reliability and scalability.
  • Improve the core experience. Improve the everyday experience of developers and maintainers, and support the ongoing work. They also promise to introduce some bigger features, Workspaces and improvements to the publishing and multi-factor authentication experience.
  • Engage with the community. Engage with the JavaScript community to get ideas and help define the future of npm.

GitHub will be hosting a Reddit AMA to answer further npm-related questions in the coming days.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

Startup & MVPBY RabIT software engineering · June 24, 2019

Introduction

Many of us dream about becoming self-made successes, entrepreneurs to finally free ourselves from our 9-5 jobs and turn our dreams into a reality. Today, the internet is littered with success stories about people who have already made it big and became millionaires, hundred millionaires, billionaires even.

The path to achieving breakout success sounds simple when you hear the story of someone who already has it all figured out. However, finding the right way is much harder if you are starting from scratch. A startling amount of entrepreneurs never achieve their ultimate goals. According to statistics, only 30% of small businesses make it past their 10th anniversary.

To improve the odds of success, more and more entrepreneurial journeys start out with a simple Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

 

What Is a Minimum Viable Product?

The term was introduced as one of the core principles of the lean startup methodology.

An MVP is the initial version of your product that only has the core features that are essential to solving an existing problem for your prospective customers. Your minimum viable product helps you gather important feedback and estimate market interest from the earliest stages of your business. More complex features are only added in later iterations, based on the received user feedback and the development of market demand.

A minimum viable product can be a simple web or mobile application, website or a single landing page.

what is minimum viable product development

Illustration of minimum viable product development

 

MVP Benefits

A minimum viable product enables you to:

  • test a product hypothesis with minimal resources
  • accelerate learning in your organization
  • reduce necessary development hours
  • reach your actual market as soon as possible
  • decrease the risks of investment
  • establish your brand to users quickly

 

Researching and Verifying the MVP Idea

Verifying the business idea itself is a crucial step that absolutely must come before you rush into any kind of development project. You can significantly decrease the risk of investment by double checking if there is enough interest on the market for your solution.

Not even a company like Google could get away with selling a product that had no clear product-market fit (ehm… Google Glass).

Your new product or service has to offer a much needed solution for a need (or problem) that is being underserved by competitors or not served at all by anyone. You also have to make sure that the problem is pressing enough to justify the price of your solution in the eyes of potential customers.

 

Minimum viable product market fit

Source:   leanstartup.co

A good cautionary tale here could be Juicero, Silicon Valley’s smart juicer that squeezes disposable packets of liquified fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients into cups. Even with 4 funding rounds and close to $120 million of total funding, they couldn’t justify the $400 price tag for a web-connected device the basically empties a drink from a bag. The company went bottoms up less than 4 years after its founding.

Know what it costs to deliver your product (materials, rent, salaries, etc.) and to acquire customers who will pay to use that product (CAC – customer acquisition cost). All these costs have to be included in your pricing as well. While breaking even helps you consistently pay the bills, it won’t be enough to become a top player in your industry. Be sure that your costs are still reasonable to customers even after adding your profit margin.

According to smallbiztrends.com, only 40% of small businesses are profitable, 30% break even and 30% are continually losing money.

 

startup profitability - minimum viable product guide

 

The initial verification usually isn’t enough to prove that your business will be sustainable on the long run. That part will be up to your actual MVP.

You can get really creative with your idea verification methods. Use every tool at your disposal to measure the buzz around your idea. These examples are accessible to everyone for little or no expense:

  • Google search
  • Google Trends
  • Landing pages
  • Explainer videos
  • User testing

Start by identifying your key customer profile and creating buyer personas. This should help you visualize your ideal client base and customize your marketing messaging to better fit their specific needs. Do your best to reach out to as many people who fit this profile as you can.

What does the minimum viable product development process look like?

Minimum viable product development has to result in a product that delivers real value to its users is a complex process that may vary depending on your industry, product type, user base and so on. For the sake of clarity, we will break the MVP development process down to the following steps:

I. Setting a hypothesis

Hypothesis-based decision making helps you avoid basing your product idea on false assumptions and prejudices.

While it might seem like a billion-dollar idea to produce a smart salt shaker with Bluetooth technology, it can’t hurt to double check first. Just to be sure.

Using this method to come up with a business idea should guarantee that it will be based on real-life demand. A good hypothesis must be:
– easily testable,
– clear and measurable,
– either clearly true or false.

The most simplified template for such a hypothesis would look something like this:

 

If [cause], then [effect], because [reason].

 

Example: If we develop an app for broadcasting nostalgic content for people born before 1970, then we can get 50,000 people to sign up for a free trial by the end of 2020, because research data shows us that 80s and 90s nostalgia is very captivating to our target audience.

Once you have gathered sufficient evidence proving that your hypothesis is true, you can start planning product development with much greater certainty.

 

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II. Selecting technologies

Minimum viable product development can be done with any modern-day programming language. However, it is crucial that you decide from the start whether or not you are planning to develop an MVP, or a full-fledged software product. If you choose the MVP route, you should go with technologies that are highly flexible and scalable.

Due to the evolving nature of an early MVP, developers need to be able to easily make changes to the source code at all times. By choosing modern and frequently updated tech in the planning stage, you can make your team’s life much easier when it comes to implementing these changes.

You should always choose the technology your team is most comfortable with. If you are open for suggestions though, here are a few pointers:

Micro-service architectures carry great benefits for MVP development. These micro-services are comprised of small modules that communicate with each other, and sometimes with the user as well. By using modular builds we are able to decompose an application into different smaller services. This makes the application easier to understand, develop, test and become more resilient to changes in the architecture itself.

Thanks to the independently functioning modules, multiple autonomous teams can work on development at the same time. This alone can help speed up the project significantly.

 

monolithic vs microservice minimum viable product

Source:    bmc.com

 

However, if you are developing a really minimalistic MVP with a small team, and scalability is not a top priority yet, we would rather recommend using monolithic architecture. Its main benefits are faster development and lower hardware requirements.

Also, the developed application will be self-contained and independent from other computing applications. Later on, if scalability becomes important and more developers join the team, it should be separated into micro-services though.

A lot of developers would disagree with using monolithic architecture for MVP development today. It may be falling out of popularity, but we believe there are still cases where it’s the right call. Instead of selecting the most popular option, this decision should be made according to product strategy and technical requirements.

Language-wise we ourselves prefer to use Java, since that is what our team has the most experience with. We have also started using Go (or Golang) recently, thanks to its speed and ability to produce small, static binaries. These really come in handy if you are working with micro-services.

Regardless of the selected technologies, you can build a top-quality MVP if you invest the time and energy into planning your project properly. You can only make your development team’s life easier if you choose a modern and frequently updated language.

One of the most common pitfalls of this process is not having a clear vision of a specific end goal and focus on the most critical features.

 

 

III. Product feature development

Choosing these key features may sound easy enough, but is not always so straightforward. This is why you needed to do all that research first, and verify your concept before moving on to product development.

If you already have a good understanding about your market, the development process itself should look something like this:

  1. Define product requirements
  2. Plan and assign development tasks
  3. Feature development and testing
  4. Live release
  5. Product evolution (repeat 1-4)

 

Try to look at product development as a cycle instead of a linear process. In this example, the live release doesn’t happen when development is finished, it happens when the MVP functions on a satisfactory level. Your product still needs to evolve through future iterations. Current features will have to be tweaked or scrapped if necessary, new features might have to be added, etc. In some cases, development may continue throughout the entire product life cycle.

Have you heard about the location-based iPhone app called Burbn? It allowed its users to check in at particular locations, plan future check-ins, earn points for hanging out with friends, and post pictures of these meet-ups.

 

burbn minimum viable product

 

The app wasn’t doing too well after its initial release. After analyzing their users’ activity more closely, the creators found out that people were mostly using Burbn to share photos. They weren’t using the check-in features at all. The app was just too complicated, and came with a lot of features that users found unnecessary.

The team finally decided to act on their data, focus on the photo-sharing feature and throw out everything else. This app is called Instagram today.

This is a good example for why it is essential to involve real users in the development process from the early stages.

Our team places a great emphasis on product evolution as well. Here is what the development cycle usually looks like for us:

minimum viable product development cycle

 

IV. Testing

Continuous testing is one of the key principles of validated learning, which is used to mitigate the considerable risk of launching a new product. There are over 30,000 new consumer products released each year, and 95% fail, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen.

We recommend that, apart from testing software functionality, you should also start usability testing as early as possible. This is important because even a perfectly functioning product can be misinterpreted by users due to confusing layouts, unclear documentation or faulty user interface design.

 

user vs usability testing

Source: medium.theuxblog.com

 

Normally, software doesn’t get released until it is complete and working just as intended. Although a minimum viable product is intentionally released in an incomplete state, it is still expected to work flawlessly in the hands of users. It basically has to be much lighter than a complete software, but still has to seem just as stable. This requires continuous feature testing in every development phase.

The development team must include testing during and between sprints (iteration periods in continuous Agile software development cycles). Sprint length and frequency usually varies depending on client needs. For some clients we test each development task individually, others only require testing at the end of a sprint. We always use the same platform for this purpose that we use for development as well.

Minimum viable products are beneficial long-term, in part because the high user expectations result in a high-quality product that is thoroughly tested down to the smallest detail.

 

V. Collecting data and analyzing a hypothesis

The point of minimum viable product development is to collect user feedback, analyze this data and finally act on it through future product iterations. As your prototype becomes stable enough to be put into the hands of real users, you must also have the necessary data collection channels and tools in place.

To identify your key audience and focus on their needs as accurately as possible, you will need to measure their demographic (age, gender, location, etc.) and behavioral data (device usage, interests, preferences and such).

Remember that all data collection practices on your website and applications must be done with consent from the user.

The most widely-used data collection methods are:

1. Third party data collection services already available on the market

There are a number of ready-to-use tools out there such as Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, Hotjar, Optimizely and others, which can help you collect useful behavioral data about your website and apps.

Unfortunately, these tools may have some drawbacks for clients in EU countries. GDPR regulation now limits what types of data can be collected and under what circumstances. This means that you probably won’t be able to use them to their full potential.

You can also gather useful data from the App Store or Play Store if you are planning to release a mobile app.

2. Built-in custom data collection features

With integrated monitoring features you can measure and analyze almost any element of your product at this stage. You can keep track of which software features people are using, where and when they are using them.

We usually recommend to our clients to build a reporting page where they can organize all relevant data and visualize it so it can be presented to the whole team.

Again, it is crucial to remember to disclose all information about your data collection and management practices in your privacy policy.

Also make sure that your methodologies are in line with GDPR regulation for EU countries.

3. Surveys that ask users for in-depth feedback directly

E-mail and pop-up surveys are still one of the most useful ways to collect information about user satisfaction and recommendations. You can use them to get answers you can’t find by just monitoring behavior.

Be careful not to annoy your users with too many such requests and ruin their user experience though.

 

VI. Launch

Your minimum viable product is ready for launch when all the minimum requirements are fully developed. The product must be of satisfactory quality and without any critical usability errors by this point. You should know whether or not this is true from the results of previous testing.

Product testing and evolution doesn’t stop after the minimum viable product phase either. It is up to your product team now to listen to your customers, find ways to deliver even more value to them and integrate the necessary changes through future development iterations.

 

build measure learn cycle mvp

 

Remember, if you get your finger off the pulse of the market, you can quickly lose touch with your customers’ needs and allow competitors to swoop in.

Keep in mind, that developing a flawlessly working app with beautiful design does not automatically make it successful. You also need a strategy to acquire and continuously grow your initial user base. This topic deserves a whole article of its own.

Be sure to remember that a half-completed app with a steadily growing user base is always more valuable than a 100% finished application that nobody uses.

 

Summary

Successful minimum viable product development requires careful planning from the early stages, and close monitoring throughout the development process.

While there can be a lot of money involved later on, getting rich fast must not be the only motivation for minimum viable product development. If your new product truly helps people improve their lives, or the way they work, your chances at success are already much higher.

Be careful not to rush into development with only an idea. Do your best to back it up first through market research and concept testing.

Once you’ve decided that you want to develop an MVP version, stick to this decision throughout the development phases. Pay close attention to how your customers use the product or service, and plan each following evolution stage accordingly.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

WebBY RabIT software engineering · March 08, 2019

There is a wide selection of cloud solutions available for businesses and individuals worldwide. Choosing the right solution may prove difficult if you aren’t familiar with frequently used cloud services such as IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and others.

This is why we are dedicating this article to clarifying the meaning, benefits, risks and common use cases for these popular cloud services.

 

What is IaaS?

Infrastructure as a service provides consumers with access to fundamental computing resources like processing, virtualization, storage and networks. IaaS solutions allow you to deploy and run arbitrary software such as operating systems and applications. The cloud service provider (CSP) controls and manages the underlying cloud infrastructure, but you have control over operating systems, storage and deployed applications.

 

Practical use and benefits of IaaS

Using IaaS solutions allows you to:

  • Avoid the high costs of buying hardware and setting up a new server infrastructure on your physical location
  • Access your files and data with higher security
  • Save several days or even weeks worth of time spent on setup and installation
  • Scale your computing resources up or down quickly, to meet your changing business needs

 

Potential risks involved with IaaS:

  • It can be more difficult to guarantee compliance with data management regulation. You must clearly establish accountability and control over sensitive information in your systems from day one.
  • Potential data loss is another risk when you choose to rely on a cloud service provider. It is essential to have a reliable disaster recovery plan in place to minimize the damage in case of an incident.
  • With the flexibility and accessibility of the cloud also comes reliance on the CSP. If your IaaS provider’s system goes down, so will yours. It is essential to check if they have a comprehensive recovery plan and policy in place before making your decision.

 

Dilbert by Scott Adams

 

IaaS Examples

Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, HP Public Cloud, Cisco Metapod, DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace

 

Who is IaaS for?

IaaS is a flexible solution that can be utilized by everyone who wants to manage software without having to worry about hardware. It is also a great choice for organizations that only need computing power on the short term, or for certain operations that require high capacity computing resources (e.g.: large batch processing).

 

Potential users of IaaS solutions:

  • Startups that are delivering a proof of concept, or require fast scaling within a short period of time.
  • SMBs that need a fast start and scaling without investing in too many resources in hardware.
  • IaaS is an ideal solution for Agile teams as well. It provides them with high flexibility while decreasing their reliance on corporate bureaucracy.
  • Also a viable solution for side/personal projects. Low-cost starter packages of CSPs allow anyone to set up an infrastructure quickly, without having to invest in physical systems.

 

What is PaaS?

Platform as a service provides a cloud platform allowing customers to develop, run and manage applications. As a customer, you only control the applications and data on the platform, while the cloud service provider manages operating systems, middleware, virtualization, servers, storage and networking.

 

Practical use and benefits of PaaS

Using PaaS solutions allows you to:

  • Reduce the costs involved with software development and deployment
  • Avoid the need of setting up additional server and storage space that would lie dormant once the development process is complete
  • Reduce the costs of managing software updates and maintenance
  • Achieve a faster time to market, greater speed and agility throughout the development process

 

Potential risks involved with PaaS

Same as with IaaS, you will also be susceptible to server malfunctions or compliance issues if you choose a dodgy PaaS provider. To be safe, double check accountability, control and disaster recovery principles and guidelines. Another potential issue worth mentioning is that these solutions require a very stable connection, and enough bandwidth to run smoothly at all times.

 

PaaS Examples

Heroku, Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, OpenShift, Force.com, Apache Stratos

 

Who is PaaS for?

Teams that need extra computing power without wanting to worry about operating systems, server administration, and associated costs (energy, acquisition, maintenance, human resources etc.). Organizations that experience frequent spikes in computing requirements, don’t have the resources or don’t want to manage IT infrastructure internally.

 

Potential users of PaaS solutions:

  • Development teams who need a highly scalable and flexible platform to manage their applications and data during projects.
  • High-growth businesses that would likely experience a higher ROI from scaling a virtual platform, compared to developing their own physical systems.

 

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What is SaaS?

Software as a Service solutions are ready-made software products built on the cloud, and made available for customer’s use on a subscription basis. You can most often run this type of software as a web application without installing anything on your local devices. Everything, including applications and data, is stored and managed on the cloud. Chances are, you have already used multiple such software products. SaaS solutions are mostly available to use for a monthly or yearly fee, and they often have a more basic free-to-use option as well.

 

Practical use and benefits of SaaS

Using SaaS solutions allows you to:

  • Integrate new software solutions into your business processes quickly, without losing time and money on installation
  • Access applications and data from any location, at any time, on multiple devices
  • Let the software provider deal with hardware and software updates, removing this responsibility and workload from yourself
  • Scale your selected application by simply upgrading your subscription as your business grows, or more users need to access the software

 

Potential risks involved with SaaS

The lowest cost among other cloud solutions comes with the highest level of reliance on the software provider. Everything, including applications and user data is managed by the CSP, which can easily lead to privacy and data security compliance issues. Also, you often have to sacrifice customization for high accessibility, if you decide to use a ready-made solution. This can result in you subscribing to a software product that doesn’t serve your business as well as an in-house solution could.

 

SaaS Examples

Office 365, Semrush, Asana, Salesforce, Planning Pod, Dropbox

 

Who are SaaS solutions for?

Depending on their specific needs, anyone can benefit from the right SaaS. There is a wide range of applications available out there that provide solutions for businesses and individuals alike. SaaS are ideal for organizations that don’t want to invest into building their own in-house software solutions. They are also handy for individuals or freelancers who don’t have access to as many resources as enterprises.

 

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS – A Simple Comparison

Your choice of cloud services should coincide with your organizational needs and overall business plan. The core benefit of using any cloud solutions is the ability to digitize and scale your business in a much more time- and cost-efficient manner.

 

iaas paas saas comparison infographic

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

 

Read more about why you absolutely should digitize your business processes here:
7 Reasons Why You Need to Start Business Digitization Right Now

 

When should you run your server internally (on-premises)?

Having your servers set up internally can also carry significant benefits for your organization.

Most notably, you can guarantee a higher level of security and resilience compared to having external storage. Holding internal systems behind firewalls and backed up as part of a standard set of security procedures makes your data inherently more secure against external attacks.

Also, without using outsourced suppliers, you can guarantee GDPR compliance with much less difficulty.

Consider internal, external and even hybrid hosting options in accordance with your unique organizational needs. It is generally advised to host your software and data internally if you only use it internally. If you have to share your data with external parties (partners, customers, etc.), it’s typically best to host it externally.

Choose the hybrid option if you need to use data in-house and with outside parties as well. The latter is the case for most organizations today. Hybrid hosting guarantees them the optimal combination of security and collaboration.

 

Summary

Today’s IaaS, PaaS, SaaS solutions (and their different combinations) help you digitize and scale your operations faster than ever before. This also means that things can take a downturn just as fast.

Taking your business to the cloud requires careful planning, research and coordination. It is important to be familiar with CSP policies and procedures in  order to make use of their benefits and minimize potential risks.

We hope that this article managed to help you see the world of cloud services more clearly. Happy cloud diving!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

IT ProcessBY RabIT software engineering · November 27, 2018

There are a ton of reasons why a project can suffer, including poor planning and execution, or a lack of coordination. You can avoid project failure by deciding to hire a dedicated project manager. He or she will enable you to reap the promised benefits of the project.

Companies invest a considerable amount in projects to upgrade systems, develop new applications, or to roll out strategic initiatives. However, sometimes the development teams dedicated to these projects fail to deliver the desired results. This tends to happen more often in case you are working with an offshore development team.

 

What is the role of a dedicated project manager?

If you have hired an offshore development team, successful collaboration between it and your on-site team is crucial for achieving success in projects. For that, you need proper planning, clearly defined goals, and effective communication. If you also hire a dedicated project manager, they will make sure that all the requirements are met. They have the skill set to plan, organize, execute, and bring the project to a close.

 

dedicated project team

 

Dedicated project managers also play a vital role in improving the performance of the team. They make sure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, and the goals of the project. Not only that, but they also regularly monitor and assess the team’s performance.

There is no one right project management methodology for all cases. There are plenty of options to pick from, and the dedicated project manager selects the approach based on the specific requirements and scope, so that it doesn’t fail to deliver the expected results.

Additionally, as the onus of the project’s success is on the project manager, you are free to focus on other aspects of your business.

 

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Let’s take a look at how a project manager ensures that the projects are completed on time and on budget. They:

  • Create a clear vision.
  • Provide a framework for the project-related tasks.
  • Identify resources needed to achieve project goals.
  • Set milestones, gauges progress, and ensures they are achieved.
  • Coordinate activities between different team members — offshore team and onshore team; and mediate if there is a conflict.
  • Motivate team members.
  • Identify potential risks that are present throughout the project’s lifetime, assess them, and proactively respond.
  • Keep work on the track.

 

What to Look for When You Hire a Dedicated Project Manager

Dedicated project managers must possess the ability to oversee complex processes and break them up into smaller, more easily manageable chunks. For this they have to understand the role and objectives of each work group (designers, developers, quality assurance testers, etc.).

Of course, each task must also be communicated in a clear and precise manner. Expert communication skills are essential for every dedicated project manager. The ability to write concise and easy-to-understand project descriptions is a must-have as well. It is also very beneficial if your project manager speaks multiple languages. because internationally distributed teams are quickly becoming the new norm.

Communication skills are especially crucial if your team is working as a supplier for a group of clients. In this case, the project manager is usually also tasked with communicating with clients directly, presenting the results and handling issues or complaints.

Knowing how to use all of the most popular project management tools shouldn’t be an absolute requirement. These tools (we mention a few of them below) can be picked up relatively quickly for anyone with a basic affinity for using software. However, having some experience with a few of them can help speed up the onboarding process.

 

dedicated project manager cta

 

A Few Project Management Tips

As the business environment is changing fast and there is high uncertainty, companies can no longer take their time to complete a project. Every business has to work with limited resources, and employees often handle more than one responsibility. So, how do you defy the odds and become a successful organization? A competent and resourceful project manager can make a big difference and help manage projects effectively.

Here are some suggestions for selecting tools and methodologies:

 

Project Management Methodology

An adaptive project framework can be the best approach today, as it continuously adapts to the changing circumstances of each project. It allows you to change the project’s scope. Moreover, as the projects progress in iterative stages, the team can evaluate the previous performance at the end of every stage. Based on the evaluation, they can improve their performance.

We recommend using Scrum or Kanban project management methodologies most of the time.

Scrum is a project management framework that breaks up longer development processes into two-week periods (or sprints). After completing each sprint, the progress is demonstrated to the product owner, who can then give feedback and make adjustments to the project if necessary. Close communication and constant inclusion of the Client makes the project much more likely to stay on course and deliver positive results.

Here is how dedicated teams usually visualize development tasks with Scrum:

dedicated project manager scrum board

 

Unlike Scrum, the Kanban approach is not iterative, so it allows the software to be developed in one large development cycle. This cycle has no predefined end point. The software requirements get broken up into smaller work items, which then enter the development process in a prioritized order. A work item is not allowed to move on to the next phase until some capacity opens up ahead. This approach is more useful if fixed time frames aren’t sustainable for the project.

This is how teams visualize development tasks with the Kanban Method:

dedicated project manager kanban board

 

As you can see, in Kanban, tasks are carried out in a specific order.  New tasks have to be added at the end of the Backlog queue, and they will be executed in order.

This is not possible in Scrum, because once a set of tasks in a sprint gets defined and approved, tasks cannot be added or modified. New tasks must be added to the upcoming sprints instead.

 

Voice Communication Tools

For excellent teamwork, effective communication is essential. With voice communication platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts, which offer audio and video group calls, remote team members can easily plan, communicate and work as a cohesive group.

 

Chat & Messaging Apps

Slack, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Workplace, the group chat tools, enable distributed dedicated teams to collaborate successfully. WhatsApp, the cross-platform messaging and VoIP service, also lets the team members to plan, organize, and share work updates.

 

Task management

Leveraging task management software such as Asana, JIRA, and Confluence, the startup’s team members can manage, organize, and track the progress of project-related tasks.

 

If you need help deciding which tools to use to track and carry out your project management tasks, have a look at this list of the best software development tools for project management.

hire a project manager cta

If you would like to learn more, read about our approach to dedicated project management here.

 

More useful Agile project management advice and resources:

Overcoming Communication and Cultural Challenges

Overcoming Challenges During the Work Process

Overcoming Challenges with Day-to-Day Operations

Overcoming Challenges from a Lack of Experience

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · October 31, 2018

Code review is a process by which developers review each other’s source code. Peer code review not only makes a better code but also makes better teams.

The two roles present in a peer code review are –

  • The author: A person who is responsible for developing the code being reviewed.
  • The reviewer: He is the person who is responsible for examining the code.

 

Commonly used forms of peer code review

 

Over-the-shoulder code review

In this type of review, the author writes a code and calls the reviewer over to have a look at it.

Benefits

  • Easy to implement
  • Fast to finish

 

over the shoulder peer code review

 

Email pass-around reviews

Most open-source projects prefer this form of code review. Here, the author emails complete files to reviewers. Reviewers then examine the files and suggest changes.

Benefits

  • Works with remote software developers
  • Easy to implement
  • Easy to involve other people
  • Doesn’t disturb reviewers

 

Pair-programming (review)

In this form of code review, two developers write code together at the same workstation.

Benefits

  • Effective at promoting knowledge-transfer and spotting bugs.
  • The reviewer is very close to the code and can provide a detailed review.

 

Tool-assisted code review

Reviewers and authors use specialized tools designed for code review. The tools are used in all aspects of the peer code review: collecting metrics, transmitting and displaying files, commentary, collecting files etc.

Benefits

  • Automated file gathering
  • Workflow enforcement
  • Automated metrics collection

 

peer code review cta

 

Why do you need to devote time for code reviews?


HIGHER CODE QUALITY

While QA testing is absolutely essential to improve the performance of your final product, code reviews are just as important. Source code reviews guarantee a higher quality code base. Not only do they improve software performance, they also allow you to expand your product and add new features much more easily in the future.

Higher code quality also leads to less time spent in handling technical debt and resolving errors. Technical debt, also known as code debt, is the expense a software company pays out due to poor development processes within its existing codebase. These debts should be resolved as quickly as possible.

Codacy conducted research and found that software developers spend about 26% of their time working on technical debt and on fixing bugs. According to the same research, code reviews have the greatest impact on the quality of the code, followed by coding style and standards and testing.

 

REDUCED COSTS

The earlier a bug is spotted the less it will cost to resolve it. Discovering and resolving errors at the early stage of development is relatively less costly as compared to the expensive process of bug fixing happening at the advanced stages of software development. An external reviewer can quickly and easily spot mistakes made by software developers.

 

IMPROVED DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

In addition to fixing bugs and improving software quality, code review improves your software development processes and the team as a whole.

 

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TRAINING NEW, LESS EXPERIENCED DEVELOPERS

Code review helps development teams train new developers and familiarize co-workers with other modules. The process of code review encourages the sharing of ideas across the team and provides an opportunity for new developers to acquire skills and improve their code’s performance. These younger developers also get an opportunity to sharpen their skills and become experts in their field. The reviewers also get to learn new ideas and techniques from the code they are reviewing.

 

BETTER ESTIMATES

Code review helps in sharing of knowledge between the reviewer and the author. The reviewer is quite familiar with the known issues in the code base and the complexity of the project. Therefore, the development team members get to know the product in detail and the software developers learn to make better estimates of the future work from the reviewer.

 

CONSISTENT CODING STYLE

Code review enforces a consistent coding style throughout a software project. This makes the code readable by developers who might have joined the project at any given time during software development.

While this might seem like a trivial matter, you can save a ton of time and resources on the long run if the source code is easy to read. This is especially crucial if we are talking about a huge code base.

peer code review coding styles

To Summarize

Peer code review should be an integral part of every software development process. Apart from fishing out errors in time, your team will also learn to work together more effectively. Less experienced developers can also learn a lot from their senior colleagues during this process.

Choosing which method you’ll use depends on your preferences and team setup. The important thing is to start implementing reviews into the development process as soon as possible.

If you would like to learn more, read about our team’s approach to conducting code reviews.

In here we talk about our process, what tools we use and what are the most crucial aspects during reviews.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

Dedicated TeamBY RabIT software engineering · October 10, 2018

With the rapid development of communication and project management technologies, the popularity of remote business cooperation is also on the rise throughout the globe. Today, you can outsource business processes easier than ever before. Be it offshoring or nearshoring you are after, there is a plethora of new tools and platforms that you use to set up a working partnership within just days. This can work really well for more simple business processes like copywriting or graphic design projects. However, when it comes to complex work processes, there is a need for deeper involvement from both parties. This is where outsharing comes in.

Outsharing stresses on working partnerships and encourages collaboration. An outsharing partner thoroughly examines your business case, reads beyond the specification lines and suggests optimization solutions. They focus on value whether it’s designing and creating new functionality, optimizing the processes, or improving the user experience.

Over the past few years, outsharing has been gaining in popularity. Many companies consider outsharing to be the next level of outsourcing software development. It is believed that in the coming years outsharing will replace outsourcing.

 

Reasons for outsourcing

Outsourcing can provide solutions to software companies and businesses anywhere in the world. Depending on where you live, you can save about 70% on hourly rates by outsourcing software development to development shops or freelancers. When you outsource your work, you don’t need to go through long and costly hiring processes.

You only need to look out for the quality of the companies’ previous work. You get access to talented and skilled labor at a low cost during outsourcing. That’s why businesses and companies consider outsourcing development in the first place.

Outsourcing partners hire talented people in their team who know how to manage different business situations. They understand how a company’s goal can be attained. External service providers are fully aware of the latest technology of the industry and are capable of providing their clients with the best services at a much faster rate.

Most importantly, outsourcing allows you to focus on the core of your business processes or invest in research or marketing.

 

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Risks associated with outsourcing

No doubt, there are numerous benefits of outsourcing internal business processes to professional outsourcing companies. However, it has its own set of flaws. There are many risks associated with outsourcing, such as potential cybersecurity attacks, poor communication, lack of cross-cultural awareness, misuse of sensitive corporate information, insufficient product quality, and management difficulties due to a lack of centralization.

Most businesses fear a lack of direction and authority when an outsourcing company is doing their work. Company personnel loses control over their own process and technologies when certain services are outsourced. The consequences can be fatal or serious. Contractual disputes can occur or the quality may suffer.

Many outsourcing companies do not bother to understand their client’s product vision and strategies. Their involvement in the product development is limited to delivering the code that matches the list of specifications. Many of these clients don’t get the product they envisioned and the quality they deserve.

Keep in mind that it is very important to choose the right outsourcing partner. Engaging with the wrong outside service provider could cost your business in terms of performance, productivity, employee morale, and financial outlay.

Read more about the most common reasons why outsourced software projects fail.

 

What exactly is outsharing and is it better than outsourcing?

Outsharing means having an equal remote partner, who is completely involved in realizing the client’s product vision and helping them reach their strategic goals. Outsharing partners not only deliver code but also function as a remote Chief Technology Officer.

They offer well-reasoned and valid opinions about your product roadmap and enlighten you on how to reach your goals and objectives in the most effective manner. Outsharing partners will also tell you about new technologies that are worth adopting for your company. They also have the soft skills to build strong relationships with their clients.

Outsharing partners need to share the same product vision, and truly understand each other’s organization. Both parties need to invest time and effort and communicate openly. Keep in mind that open communication is essential to remote business success. You should encourage your outsourcing partners to share their concerns and ideas, both negative and positive. This will give them the sense that they are valued. Ineffective communication, on the other hand, can easily lead to project failure.

Outsharing is necessary to develop and create complex technology solutions and products that make life better and easier. It is for companies that want constructive expert input and deeper involvement from their outsourcing partner.

 

To sum it up

If you have concerns about the risks that are associated with traditional outsourcing, outsharing could be your solution. Think about your outside IT service provider more like a strategic business partner. By gaining full access to their unique perspective and technological expertise, you can gain even more value than you would from an in-house IT department. The principles of outsharing help you gain more and more value over the long term instead of focusing on the completion of single projects.

If any of this sounds appealing to you, we would love to talk more about the topic. Visit our website and feel free to drop us an email with your questions. Thank you for reading!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

WebBY RabIT software engineering · September 18, 2018

Today we are all users of many different software products, websites and applications. We all know the frustration of trying to stumble through poorly designed, clunky user interfaces. We also how easily they can make us rage-quit them after the first few tries. From these experiences we all know why usability testing is important, but to understand the whole process, we need to start right from the beginning.

Usability testing involves observing and recording the behavior of test subjects who are assigned to complete a set of tasks on your app, website, or other software product. The testing helps you to know whether your site works and how to improve it.

 

There are some elements involved in the usability testing process. These are:

Participant: The participant will perform the activities for which you want to test your software.
Usability tester:  The job of the usability tester is to explain the participants their role and the tasks they have to complete during the test, and pay them when they finish their task.
Shared screen:  Screen sharing software can make the test much more effective. You can easily include the product team into the usability test without stressing the participant. Further, executives will get to know how users see the product or company website.
Recording software: With recording software, you can record the test and analyze it later. It allows the usability tester to focus more on the testing process.
Pre-written usability testing script: It helps you walk the participants through the test smoothly.

 

Make the usability test process as time- and cost-efficient as you can by planning each step of the process in detail. Keep in mind that a detailed script will help the tester to effectively explain the tasks and process to the participant. Most importantly, users should know that they are not being tested, you are testing the software.

The usability tester should not influence the user’s actions in any way. They have to solve their problems and find the solutions on their own. The main work of the usability tester is to provide information about the tasks and the usability testing process. He or she should encourage the participants to actively share their opinions and thoughts. Participants need to be vocal about their thoughts.

Know that the participants may feel frustrated when they are not able to find the solutions right away. When the users reach a level of frustration where they want to leave your website and search elsewhere for solutions, your site fails the test.

Have a meeting with the responsible team after the usability test. Based on the results of the usability test, choose the top three problems that need to be addressed. You need to resolve these issues this month and after one month, repeat the complete process.

 

why usability testing is important

 

Is there a difference between usability testing and user testing?

Sometimes, usability testing is confused with user testing. Usability testing and user testing are two different approaches to reaching different goals. User testing involves interviewing your target audience to determine market demand for your service or product.

Usability testing is also different from focus group testing. In focus group testing, you learn about the experiences and opinions of a group of users regarding your website or product.

Usability testing, on the other hand, is more about seeing if users can understand or use your website or product with common sense. You can choose anyone to be a test subject who views your website with a fresh eye and provide useful information about ease of use. Beginning usability testing with your family members and friends is a good way to get a new and fresh perspective.

 

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Tools for Usability Testing

Usability testing tools are essential to the success of your website. Here are some tools that can help you conduct usability tests.

Optimizely

This A/B testing platform allows users to track visits as well as conversions. Optimizely offers many features such as visitor segmentation, mobile website testing, multivariate testing, and cross-browser testing. The basic plan is free of cost. However, if you want some extra features, you need to pay for them.

 

Crazy Egg

You can use the tool for 30 days as a free trial, and after that, you have to pay $9 per month. Crazy Egg offers a number of features such as heatmap, scrollmap, confetti, and overlay.

The Heatmap allows you to see where each visitor has clicked on your website. With Scrollmap, you will get to know how far down on the web page a user has scrolled. The Confetti gives you valuable insights regarding visitor sources, search terms etc. The Overlay helps you to know the number of clicks each element on your web page is getting.

 

Five Second Test

UsabilityHub operates this tool. Five Second Test captures a visitor’s first impression of the site. You can run a test in seconds. The process is easy and includes

1. Uploading a mock-up of the web page or uploading a screenshot with a question about the design or functionality included.

2. Five seconds are given to testers to view the web page. After that, they are required to answer the question given.

3. The responses of the testers are then compared.

The paid plans cost about $20 per month.

 

 

Now that you have a clear understanding about why usability testing is important, you can make the first steps to integrate it into your development process. There is no such thing as too early to start usability testing. Be it your new website, blog, mobile app, or custom software, it is always recommended to collect first-hand information about the way the end user sees your platforms as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading!

Other ways to collect early user feedback for your product: Which Type of MVP is Right For Your Business

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

IT ProcessBY RabIT software engineering · September 05, 2018

The methodologies used in an Agile development process follow the Agile Manifesto. The Agile Manifesto is a guideline that is based on continuous improvement, the input of the team, flexibility, and the delivery of results with good quality.

Although the principles of Agile are well-defined, companies that have nobody with Agile experience will most likely face many challenges while adopting these methodologies. They should not try to adopt an Agile development process word for word. Instead, they should experiment and create a version that best meets their projects, clients, team members, and organizational structure.

 

Resolving budgeting problems

Unplanned or poorly defined product requirements can easily make a project run out of money and time. This can give rise to conflict between the development team and clients.

Clients say that the development team failed at estimating time and money for tasks. The development team, on the other hand, says that the unplanned tasks were not on the initial list of requirements.

Actually, it’s the mix of both. Clients did not talk about important details while communicating their requirements. If one can’t communicate important details to other people, it makes their jobs more complicated. At the same time, the developers do not have the same level of in-depth knowledge into the client’s industry. That’s why they were not able to estimate these requirements.

Understanding the client’s business is key to collecting requirements effectively. Knowledge of the business of the clients will allow you to form a positive professional relationship with them.

To resolve the budgeting problems, communication between the clients and developers should be improved. Unplanned tasks will not come up if more detailed information is shared.

You should stay away from fixed budget projects. Accept such projects only if the initial requirements are well-defined and documented to the letter by a very experienced expert.

 

Do not allow outside people to estimate project size

Do not allow inexperienced product owners or SCRUM masters to estimate the size of the project. They are inclined to present an unrealistic version to stakeholders to make the estimation more appealing. This creates problems for the team later.

Also, avoid allowing individuals outside the team to estimate for the developers. The members of the development team absolutely have to be included into the estimation process.

 

Use performance metrics to measure your team’s performance

Use performance metrics (Velocity, Estimated Complexity) to monitor the efficiency of your development team throughout the Agile development process.

Velocity, which is a key metric in Scrum, helps to measure the progress of your team. You should pay attention not to inflate tasks only to increase your agile team’s velocity. Organizing every small change into separate tasks will mean that your team completes more tasks, but your team’s velocity metric won’t show real progress.

 

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Make the daily stand up meetings effective

Hold daily stand up meetings with discipline. Do not keep meetings too long. Keep them short and focused. Give one minute to each member of the team to speak. If you want, you can also organize separate stand-ups for SCRUM team leaders. Keep in mind that each meeting is an opportunity to resolve problems, improve focus, set direction, create alignment, and move goals and objectives forward.

 

Develop your own solutions

View the Agile Manifesto only as a set of guiding principles to enhance your software development processes. There is no need to implement them in exactly the same way. Use these guidelines to develop your own solutions.

You will need to do a lot of experimentation. You should assign the person who has the most experience working with your clients, development team, and methodologies the task to create the first version of your new Agile methodology. This, together with every later iteration, should be customized to meet the requirements of your clients and company.

For example, decide the number of meetings according to how efficiently the development team interacts. If the meetings do not result in the exchange of important information, reduce the number of meetings. Use email and Slack instead. You should customize every individual work element of your new Agile methodology in the same way.

With all said, you can still follow Agile methodologies word for word. Odds are, you will be much better off if you find a solution that fits you and your clients best.

 

More helpful resources about the Agile development process:

Overcoming Communication and Cultural Challenges

Overcoming Challenges During the Work Process

Overcoming Challenges with Day-to-Day Operations

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

IT ProcessBY RabIT software engineering · August 28, 2018

The development team is the heart of any Agile software development process. It takes the idea of the product owner and converts it into a product that creates value and meets a pressing need. The development team is involved in the process of developing the software product and ensuring its quality.

Often, they face issues and challenges with Agile methodology such as planning and executing tasks and flow of information and overcoming those issues can yield big results.

 

Too many meetings wreck productivity

Agile should not involve too many meetings. Fewer meetings allow your developers to concentrate on doing the actual work. Meetings should be designed carefully to increase the productivity of developers, not the opposite.

An unplanned meeting can become confusing and messy and can hamper the development work. The efficiency of the sprint can be greatly affected by having too many meetings.

Developers are often inclined to spend time during meetings talking about work instead of actually writing code. You should decrease the length and number of meetings and allow an open flow of information outside of these meetings.

Go for Ad-hoc communication as it is more effective than organizing 4-hour meetings to discuss the finished work. Flexibility and robustness are the benefits of this system.

 

Complex software development tasks should be broken into smaller doable tasks

Unplanned issues and tasks can be easily handled if the complex issues are broken down into doable small tasks. During sprint planning, assign work to your employees that they can complete in one day.

Include your quality assurance team into the sprint planning process. If you can calculate the time spent on QA testing and fixing new issues, you will able to meet important deadlines. Meeting deadlines every time is a foundation of a successful business.

You can use Estimated Complexity as an indicator to know the approximate time you need to finish a particular task. One Estimated Complexity equals 4 work hours.

Also, include the approximate work hours for quality assurance testing and resolving potential problems that come up. This will definitely increase your software development efficiency.

 

Poor flow of information decreases organizational productivity

Share information with others in enough detail. Avoid giving out brief instructions. Be aware of the fact that not everyone will understand instructions that are not well defined.

Remember to send out even the easiest tasks with as much detail as possible. This will help your developers to complete the task correctly. Formulate the instructions in such a way that an outsider who knows nothing about the project would understand them. However, you should check for understanding even after giving detailed instructions.

 

The following example will help you understand the concept.

INCORRECT – Insert the charts that we talked about into the middle of the analytics dashboard.

CORRECT – Insert Chart A, Chart B, and Chart C into the analytics dashboard as specified in Task[89], directly after the visitor analytics table.

 

To implement features of a product correctly during software development, make specifications as clear as possible. Features will not be correctly implemented in case of unclear specifications. The faulty features may even make it to release without a second round of review.

 

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Encourage employees to seek help when they need it

Encourage your development team to ask for help from your company’s senior technical leaders or trusted outside consultants if needed. Some developers discuss their work problems only with other members inside their own team. If they didn’t get the solutions, they try to resolve the issue themselves. In doing so, they may miss their deadline and fail to complete their task on time.

You should reward those who seek advice from technical leaders and the senior people. Make your developers understand that taking help of others is not a sign of incompetence or weakness. The development team should trust their senior experts. Everyone should work together to reach the same goal.

 

More helpful resources about challenges with Agile methodology:

Overcoming Communication and Cultural Challenges

Overcoming Challenges During the Work Process

Overcoming Challenges From Lack of Experience

 

Thanks for devoting your time to reading this article. If you have any unanswered questions regarding challenges with Agile methodology and software development projects, feel free to ask them during a free consultation.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.