The agile development method is a common approach used to respond to the unpredictable nature of software development. It is a process that involves an incremental, iterative sequences that optimises the software design and development phase. It allows for continuous improvement of the product in a flexible, team oriented environment where customer satisfaction is the key objective. The process follows a series of “sprints” which are short bursts of development work that are reviewed at regular intervals.
The agile method of management is utilised by MICROMINE’s Geobank team and has assisted the team to make some significant increases in productivity over the last 12 months.
Geobank is a secure and flexible data management solution that is designed to protect mining and exploration companies most valuable asset – their geological data. Geobank is a scalable software solution that delivers market leading geological data management capabilities across a range of environments.
Agile methodologies have allowed MICROMINE to significantly increase the size of the Geobank development team across multiple locations globally and improve internal processes for embedding new developers into the business. Regular sprints and sprints reviews mean the Geobank team are more reactive to the needs of the client.
Better back log management allows the team to continuously prioritise tasks and focus on the important tickets and features first. QA specialists have been embedded into the Geobank sprint team and has allowed better turnaround time on testing and bug fixes.
Below we explore some of the key benefits of agile project management:
Enhancing the overall quality of the product is the fundamental objective of the agile process. Regular testing occurs throughout each sprint allowing the team to understand what is working and what isn’t and adjust accordingly. Each new release is tested thoroughly to ensure quality.
Sprint reviews occur at the end of the sprint cycle and gives the product manager an opportunity to review and make necessary improvements. The team can reflect and work on ways to become more effective.
- Client satisfaction
Adopting agile methodology into software development allows product teams to deliver new, enhanced products to the market quicker and more efficiently which improves overall customer satisfaction. The customer is engaged in the process and product teams can demonstrate new features in each sprint.
- Reduced project risks
One of the key benefits of Agile is the ability to eliminate the risk of a project failing completely. Short sprints mean the product is always in development, so the product team know quickly whether an enhancement will work or fail. Agile also gives the product manager the freedom to implement any new changes to ensure the success of the project.
Product teams can add value to the product early in the process, reducing the risk for any major project failures.
- More control over the project
The use of bug and issue tracking products such as Jira allows the product manager to have control and full visibility over the project. Regular sprint meetings and sprint reviews ensures there is full transparency across the product team and their expectations.
- Increased velocity
A key advantage of using the agile approach is the increased velocity of bringing a product to market. Product teams are able to develop a product that is ready for market in a much quicker turnaround than other methods. Short, iterative sprints lead to more frequent product releases giving the product team a first mover advantage.
- Focus on the end user
The agile approach uses regular customer feedback to define the product design. The product manager focuses on adding features that are going to benefit the end user of the product. Each new feature or enhancement must add value to the user or it is left out of the product scope. Beta testing provides valuable feedback throughout the project.
Geobank Product Manager Mark Gabbitus commented “Agile methodology has played a key role in increasing the overall productivity of the Geobank product over the past 12 months. The feedback from our clients has been really positive and we have been able to make some really significant improvements to the software”
With the release of Geobank 2018 on the horizon, Gabbitus is excited for what’s on the development roadmap for Geobank “our development team have been busy adding some exciting new features to Geobank 2018 and have made some key improvements to the Graphic Reports utility. These updates have been made on the back of extensive consultation with our clients.”
MICROMINE is the leading provider of innovative software solutions that span the breadth of the mining cycle from geological exploration and data management, to resource estimation, mine design, planning and production control. To find out more about Geobank please visit the Geobank product homepage.