Thunder Data Systems

Agile, RoR, and the New Guy

Agile, RoR, and the New Guy

Over the last six months, I began looking into Agile programming practices leading me to the Agile Austin users group.  In April, Stacy and I attended our first meeting where we were fortunate to meet Nicholas Cancelliere–an active Agile Austin member, Certified Scrum Master, and agile instructor.  Nicholas joined our team on May 1st excited about the opportunity to introduce agile programming and Ruby on Rails, and we were thrilled to have Nick at the helm in leading us in this new–for us–programming methodology. 

While Rails itself is an exciting rapid development language stirring up a lot of media buzz, it is our adoption of agile programming practices that has transformed our business.  Previously, we scheduled client projects in a seemingly aimless juggling act.   With agile, our Monday mornings are dedicated to planning the week’s work, and we know exactly what we expect to accomplish. 

In addition to ramping up our own development and reducing our backlog, we’ve had other significant benefits.  Stacy and I confidently inform our clients about expected completion dates, and following the agile way of rapid development and customer collaboration, we schedule software demos weekly.  These weekly iterations allow us to unearth potential errors in communication early, which helps keeps development costs down.  Our clients thrill in seeing their software ideas take shape, and the open communication fosters their own confidence in us.  And our programmers set realistic expectations, gain satisfaction in achieving goals, and have control over their own work. 

Like Scott said today, yes, we could have learned and adopted agile and RoR on our own with help from the agile community and committed effort.  But having Nicholas lead the group allowed us to see dramatic results in a very short period of time, and the impact has been one of the most significant in our short history.   Sometimes, all the buzz is justified. 

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