content authoring tools to generate the required product behavior and personalization.
Rules are central to building online customized advice and behavior change programs to allow vielife to tailor its expertise and advice in real-time for users, based on the large amount of variable data each user submits. But working with leading-edge beta software is not without risk. In collaboration with vielife's own technology team and also with Microsoft directly, Valtech has been able to undertake research and development for the vielife 3.0 platform while mitigating the risks of employing beta software in the forthcoming production system.
The project will roll out the updated version of the portal, which will provide significant enhancements to its already successful, proven offering, in the New Year. As with most projects, requirements set out at the start changed significantly but due to the nature of the agile process, adjustments to development could be made along the way ensuring that each phase met expectations.
The enhanced software framework has increased flexibility and will enable the successful deployment of yet more sophisticated health risk assessments, more interactive health behavior change programs, increased scalability of campaigns and better overall management of the system.
Benefits of Agile Software Development
The vielife example has demonstrated that the agile methodology can bring numerous benefits. Valtech believes that all organizations can gain significantly from implementing some portion of it. However, to reap the true benefits of agile, you need to have good communication between business and IT.
Using Agile development, companies like vielife can achieve a number of benefits:
- Iterative development carries lower risk that the traditional waterfall method. Taking an iterative approach to project development reduces risk and produces better success, productivity, and defect rates.
- Early change can be accommodated. Iterative methods work with, rather than fight against, the changing nature of software projects which typically see a 20 percent change in requirements during development.
- Complex projects can be easily managed. The nature of agile development means that complex projects are broken down into a series of small sections to make them more manageable.
- Confidence and satisfaction is achieved from early and repeated success. Short iterations lead to working parts of the product, meaning success and tangible progress can be rapidly achieved and demonstrated.
- A partial, but stable, tested product is created early on. This provides new business opportunities as demonstrations are possible earlier. This means that the product is also available to ship sooner with fewer features if necessary.
- Higher quality products are produced with fewer defects. Agile methods facilitate early testing of all aspects of the project from load through to performance and usability. The tests themselves can be evaluated and refined over the course of each iteration.
- User involvement is encouraged every step of the way. The complexity and intangibility of software development means that feedback from people is essential as is the evaluation of partially-built systems to clarify and refine the end result. Getting user buy-in is therefore a critical part of a successful project.
About the Author
Simon Townsend, is UK Director of Consulting at Valtech. Simon is one of Valtech#39;s most experienced consultants and a director of consulting, with over 21 years in software and systems development. Simon has been with Valtech since 1999 and for the pastthree years he has been responsible for the Valtech Financial Services practice, working with major clients in the merchant banking sector.His background lies in the technical architecture of distributed systems across a range of industry sectors.