O&B advocates Agile methods for software development
To become competitive in a global setting, software development in the Philippines has to adapt Agile methodologies, a family of software development methodologies that has been shown by research to significantly increase success rates of software projects.
This was discussed during the first ever Agile Executive Forum held last October 26 at the AIM Conference Center. Hosted by Orange and Bronze Software Labs (O&B), the event brought together some of the most active Agile coaches and practitioners in the Philippines to share their knowledge and experiences, including O&B executives Calen Legaspi, Butch Landingin and Michael Mallete, joined by Rod Cerrada Jr. of Cerquit Solutions, Thomas Mikkelsen of Codelean, and Kiko Basilio of Sabre.
According to O&B President and CEO Calen Legaspi, software development in the country has been generally traditional, where software is created through phases, interaction between stakeholders is limited by rigid processes, quality assurance is primarily manual and black-box, and very few metrics are gathered on the quality of the code if any.
He said that in an Agile environment, stakeholders collaborate as a single team through efficient interactions, quality assurance is predominantly automated and detailed to the smallest unit of code, rich metrics on the quality of the code are available almost to-the-minute, and useful working software is can be released to users even at the early part of a project due to incremental delivery.
“Agile covers much more than just project management. It also describes how programmers should write their code so that it can remain stable even while absorbing countless changes. It discusses how to gather various metrics on the quality of the code at any given instant. It also covers such things as how a team of programmers should integrate the various pieces of the system they are building.” according to Legaspi, who is also Technology Director for the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA).
He stressed that the Agile methodology is just beginning to catch up among software developers in the Philippines, though Legaspi noted that majority of software firms in the US and Europe are already adopting it. He asserted that Filipino firms have been generally conservative in adapting to new processes. This is also a result of putting greater importance on conformity to traditional processes.
According to Mike Mallete, VP for Consuting Services at O&B, “software companies have to train their developers on Agile or they have to collaborate with firms that are already using it for the methodology to be fully adapted locally.”
Mallete noted that Agile has numerous advantages over traditional methods. For one, application development is more rapid while remaining stable. A company adapting the Agile methodology thus saves on costs and also maximizes resources. They also help maintain customer satisfaction as the software created from an Agile environment have functionalities based on the needs of the customers.
Legaspi is hopeful that the Agile methodology will be implemented widely in the Philippines especially with the growth of software development demand both for the domestic market and offshore targets.
“We’re at an age where software increasingly permeates every aspect of business. It is becoming a competitive advantage even for traditional businesses like banking, logistics and utilities. Adopting Agile Software Development practices can put Filipino companies at equal footing with their global competitors.” Legaspi said.