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Progma Web Design - e-commerce and e-business solutions for Chicago and beyond

Our methodology

The way we do development is based on the same fundamental ideas that all lightweight or agile methodologies are based on. The key point is that we welcome change because we believe our methodology is built to adapt to uncertainty. This preparedness to change eliminates the need to guess everything about the final product in the early stages of the project. This process of guessing is what in heavyweight methodologies is called requirements gathering and design stages.

The second point is that all development is iterative. Depending on the size of the project we strive to release a new version of the product under development every one to two weeks. A new version is defined as something presentable to end-users. This approach gives the team invaluable feedback about the features covered by the release. And because we anticipate change coming from the review of the version, we react quickly. Usually changes induced by this feedback are included in the next release.

Internal builds are released much more frequently - as frequently as daily, sometimes several times a day. Creating internal builds is a part of an incessant testing process, which provides the stability for the product despite ongoing changes.

Our methodology is based on our company's culture. We assume that every piece of code, every decision is for everybody to challenge. In fact, this is a part of the team leader's responsibilities which is to review regularly the code produced by the team and push for change of the things that are poorly designed or can become a problem in the future. Changes can be as small as coding style, or as big as rewriting the entire piece. In any case the decision making process that approves or rejects a change does not belong solely with the team leader, the entire team investigates and reviews all issues before the decision is made. The development manager oversees this process for all teams reporting to him. He also occasionally reviews critical pieces of the code produced by all teams and can initiate the same change process as a team leader.

Our development atmosphere produces an environment with a number of desirable characteristics:
  • Developers know that no matter what they write, there will be changes to come. Because of this the code they write is much more modular, agile if you wish. It is much easier and faster to change and the product stability after the change is much higher.
  • Developers know that their code will be reviewed and all sloppiness will be exposed. Our developers do not like their professional pride to be hurt and we do not work with those who do not care about professional pride.
  • Every developer is a part of the decision making process. He has a chance to see firsthand the effect his decisions have on the product delivered to a customer. This keeps the motivation of the team very high.
  • Immersion into the process shortens tremendously the ramp-up time for new members of the team; this also allows us to quickly scale up the teams as necessary.

The third point about our methodology is that interaction between the customer and the development team is crucially important to the success of each project. We consider the customer to be an essential part of the development team. The project manager is directly involved in the process of evaluation and re-evaluation of the product as it goes through the releases. The generated feedback becomes the focus of the next release.

Such a process alleviates major complexities and additional risks usually associated with the fact that the core development team is located offsite. The project manager, who works on site with the customer, shields the customer from all these complexities and ensures transparent communications that work in the same way as if all the team members were on site. The project manager can accomplish this because of the lightweight nature of our process.

This shielding and transparency would not be possible with traditional methodologies because turn-a-round times through formal communication channels take too long and, as a result, communications slow down to the extent of ceasing to exist. This considerably increases the risk of receiving a product that does not meet the customer's expectations.

In our experience, the application of our lightweight agile methodology leads to faster development of higher quality software on lower budgets.

To learn more about our methodology please visit the FAQ section or contact us contact us if you have any questions.

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Website Design, Web Applications Development - Progma, Inc. - serving Greater Chicago since 1994
Located in Deerfield, Illinois - just 25 miles north of downtown Chicago
2006, Progma, Inc.