Agile Development Methodology

agile development methodology with scrumThe agile approach to software development has been gaining in popularity over the last decade as many companies recognize the benefits of using an agile development methodology.

A primary feature of the agile development methodology involves organizing projects into a series of regular, predictable iterations, typically called “sprints.”  While the length of these sprints may vary depending on the team and the project, they are typically organized to last between one week and one month.

The agile development methodology is most often juxtaposed to the waterfall approach to software development. One of the major differences between these two methodologies involves the use of software testing. In a waterfall development model, software is first created and then tested prior to implementation. With an agile development methodology, software testing is conducted throughout the entire coding process.

Scrum is another popular methodology used by many using an agile development methodology. This is a collaborative approach that facilitates cross-functional teamwork, ongoing communication, and a clear focus towards shared goals.

7 Benefits of Using An Agile Development Methodology

The popularity of the agile development methodology is on the rise for a number of different reasons. Here are 7 benefits of using the agile development methodology:

  1. Greater Transparency – The agile development methodology enables a more inclusive approach to software development which keeps everyone updated on the status of the project. Transparency is emphasized from start to finish and stakeholders often report a clearer understanding of the entire project.
  2. Better Communication – The agile and scrum approach to software development promotes frequent ongoing communication between everyone involved in the project. This predictable, organized communication flow tends to improve clarity, while encouraging team work.
  3. Increased Productivity – Because the agile development methodology breaks up the workload into smaller pieces and deliverables are finished in short iterations, productivity tends to rise. This is attributed in part to the fact that the software engineers are less likely to get off track on a project, and when problems do occur, they are identified and resolved more quickly.
  4. Increased Team Optimism – By dividing a project up into smaller, achievable pieces, many software engineers experience a greater sense of overall satisfaction. Ongoing accomplishments tend to be celebrated and recognized, and progress is better measured, which typically increases the overall morale of the project team. The frequent team communication also tends to foster tighter bonds, greater trust and better teamwork.
  5. Higher Quality Work – Because the software testing process is ongoing with the agile development methodology, problems are identified and fixed along the way. This tends to lead to a higher quality end product that is more likely to meet the requirements and expectations of all the stakeholders involved.
  6. Easier Budgeting – Cost estimates for a project using the agile development methodology are generally provided at the start of each sprint. Estimating the budget is more accurate for shorter and more predictable chunks of work. It is also possible to modify costs more easily by making budget-minded decisions about changes to project requirements and features.
  7. Improved Stakeholder Engagement – The agile development methodology requires stakeholder involvement throughout the course of a project, rather than just at the beginning and the end. Encouraging stakeholders to provide regular input on an ongoing basis tends to increase overall engagement while reducing frustration and uncertainty.

While the agile approach to software development is dynamic, the fundamental structure yields a variety of benefits to everyone involved in the project.  Not only does the agile development methodology tend to improve team morale but it also tends to save companies time and money. Given the multiple benefits, a growing number of companies are shifting to an agile development methodology.

Prosoft Nearshore Software Development and IT Staffing Firm Celebrates Six Years in Business

Prosoft Nearshore Costa Rica (PRLEAP.COM) December 17, 2014 – Prosoft Nearshore, a leader in nearshore custom software development, agile programming, and IT staffing, recently announced that December 2014 marks the company’s 6th anniversary of its founding.

Six years ago company founder David Easterling, already the successful business owner of a Louisville, Kentucky-based IT staffing and software development firm, set out to establish a convenient offshore location for custom software development, mobile app design, QA testing, IT staffing and other related services. The location for this new enterprise not only needed to be safe and secure, but it also had to support a collaborative, agile approach to software development.

While other companies offered offshore software development and IT staffing in far-away locations like India, Prosoft Nearshore was founded to serve a unique need in the market that provides IT staffing and software engineering services to companies using a collaborative, agile approach towards software development with scrum.

After identifying San Jose, Costa Rica as the ideal nearshore location for custom software development, the company began with just a couple of talented software engineers. Over the past six years Prosoft Nearshore has expanded to include a team of more than 50 highly skilled software developers, QA analysts, web designers, IT recruiters and project managers.

Discussing his decision to open Prosoft Nearshore in Costa Rica, company founder David Easterling explains, “Costa Rica is extremely stable economically and politically, with a culture very similar to the United States. It is also located in the Central Time Zone and is a quick flight from Miami or Atlanta. This convenient nearshore location facilitates easy communication and ongoing collaboration between our software developers and client teams.”

Prosoft Nearshore software developers are not only highly-skilled software engineers but they are also fluent in English and have excellent communication skills and business acumen. One of the many benefits of nearshore software development in Costa Rica is that it is easy for Prosoft Nearshore software developers to participate in daily team communication and to even make trips to the U.S. as needed, to meet face-to-face with client teams.

President David Easterling said, “Prosoft Nearshore’s 6th anniversary is an important milestone for the company. We’ve grown quickly over the past six years, working with clients in California, Florida, and all across the United States. Our commitment to hiring top notch technical talent with a focus on agile software development, and our focus on long term engagements, helps our clients realize significant gains in productivity and savings.”

In order to celebrate the success of six successful years in the nearshore software development business, the Prosoft Nearshore team in Costa Rica recently enjoyed a special holiday gathering that included delicious food and entertainment, complete with a visit to Tapanti National Park in Cartago, Costa Rica, and the opportunity to ride a mechanical bull.

Looking forward to 2015 and beyond, Easterling adds, “We are excited about some larger product development projects in the year ahead and look forward to continuing to deliver high quality work and excellent value to our customers.”

About Prosoft Nearshore
With busy offices in Louisville, Kentucky, and Escazú, San José, Costa Rica, Prosoft Nearshore is currently ranked the 16th fastest growing company in Louisville and #2675 on the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. Prosoft Nearshore is a Microsoft Certified Silver Partner, with software developers specializing in Microsoft .net, C#, ASP.net, SQL Server, MVC, PHP, Java development, and javascript MVC frameworks like Angular, Knockout, Ember and Backbone. To learn more about Prosoft Nearshore, visit www.prosoftnearshore.com or call toll free: 1-866-320-6616.

CONTACT INFORMATION
David Easterling
Prosoft Nearshore
1-866-320-6616

What Does a Scrum Master Do?

Scrum Master OverviewThe word “scrum” originally comes from a term used in the sport of rugby. In rugby, a scrum refers to a method for quickly restarting the rugby match. In the software development world, scrum explains a flexible, holistic strategy used with the agile development methodology, especially when compared to traditional approaches like waterfall software development.

A scrum master serves as the facilitator for a product development team that uses an agile software development framework. Scrum masters are sometimes compared to coaches who help software development teams do their best possible work throughout course of a project. Scrum masters typically serve as leaders over the process through which a project is managed.

The scrum methodology enables software development teams to self-organize by way of close collaboration and daily communication. Scrum also encourages a shared vision among team members which may include the product owner, scrum master, software developers and other stakeholders, to do all that is necessary to envision and create the best products possible.

Agile software development teams use the scrum methodology to enable quick changes and adjustments, maximizing their ability to act responsively to emerging requirements throughout a software development project.

5 Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

A scrum master has variety of responsibilities throughout a software development project, but their main job is to help the product development team perform their best. In order to get the best work out of a team, a scrum master is responsible for the following:

    1. Organizing and facilitating daily meetings, called scrums, where team members share project status updates.
    2. Building team consensus around what needs to be achieved on the project, over a specified period of time.
    3. Working closely with the project owners to make sure the project backlog is on track.
    4. Claiming responsibility for any obstacles that may impede the team’s progress.
    5. Protecting the product development team from any distractions that may slow down progress or hinder their ability to do their work.

A scrum master may seem like a project manager in the general sense of the word, yet they typically go over and above to make sure their team is able to perform to the best of their ability. Scrum masters offer ongoing guidance and leadership to a product development team that needs to successfully reach a shared common goal that an individual team member could not achieve if they were working alone.

People interested in the agile scrum approach to software development often join the Scrum Alliance, a non-profit membership organization that encourages the widespread use of scrum. Prosoft Nearshore founder David Easterling is a certified scrum master and member of the Scrum Alliance.

Facts About Costa Rica

Costa Rica Located in Central America, Costa Rica spans almost 20,000 square miles, with a population of over 4.5 million people. Officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica, this beautiful country is bordered by Panama, Nicaragua, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

While Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, many people in the country are also fluent in English. San Jose is the capital and biggest city, with nearly one out of four residents of Costa Rica living in or around the San Jose area.

10 Facts About Costa Rica

Whether you are planning a vacation or business trip to Costa Rica, or are simply interesting in learning more about this special country, here are 10 interesting facts to learn about Costa Rica:

  1. The average life expectancy in Costa Rica is about 79 years (compared to around 76 years in the U.S.).
  2. Costa Rica has a huge variety of birds. Estimates suggest that the country has upwards of 850 bird species. About two-thirds of the birds in Costa Rica are non-migratory, and the rest are passing through as they travel towards South America.
  3. Costa Rica is an environmentally progressive country ranked 5th worldwide by the Environmental Performance Index at Yale University. Costa Rica has met all the required criteria to measure environmental sustainability.
  4. Costa Rica is known for its volcanoes. The country is home to 6 active volcanoes and over 60 dormant ones. One of the most active volcanoes in the Costa Rica is the Poás Volcano in the Poás Volcano National Park.
  5. Soccer (or “futbol”) is the most popular sport in Costa Rica.
  6. Out of a total of 19 different countries, Costa Rica is ranked the safest country in Latin America by Latinvex. This makes Costa Rica a great place for visitors touring the country, and for businesses with offices in Costa Rica like Prosoft Nearshore.
  7. Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces: San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limon. The national capital and largest city is San José, which is located in the San José province.
  8. Costa Rica is home to one of the most famous cloud forests in the world. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica is the biggest cloud forest in all of Central America.
  9. National parks, wild life and nature reserves make up around 25% of the land in Costa Rica.
  10. The rainy season in Costa Rica starts in May and lasts through November. During the rainy season, rain showers are common especially in the afternoon.