For a software development company there is little more demoralising than working hard for days or even weeks on a complicated feature only to find out later, once it has been rolled out, that no one even uses it.
I experienced this myself when I was a developer, and I've witnessed it countless times on Waterfall projects over the years. Sapping developers' morale is bad enough, but what cost does this have for the business funding the project?
In its CHAOS Manifesto 2013, The Standish Group reports that its analysis of software projects delivered in 2012 suggests that only 20% of features of the software are used often and 50% of features are hardly ever or never used.
So that's half a software project's budget spent developing, testing, rolling out and documenting features that probably won't ever be used. What an incredible waste of money! It also contributes to 'feature bloat' - the noise extra features add to an application's user interface, which makes it harder for users to find and use the functionality they really want.
Avoiding this waste is one important reason why, after years of using a traditional Waterfall approach, we now only run Agile projects. Through Agile software development we can build websites and applications that users really want and that maximises the value of the project for the business. How does Agile help with this?
5 years after we switched our web and application development projects to Agile everyone is happy - we have happy clients, happy profitability - and happy developers. So much so that I'm amazed so many software development companies still use a Waterfall approach. I expect many will switch to Agile as time goes on- especially when the people footing the bills look at the numbers.
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