The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player in the market. There were several other players before the world got the iPod fever.
Google Maps came to dominate when MapQuest was already a household name
Facebook came to your browser when MySpace was undeniably huge.
Google showed up when the market already had Ask Jeeves, MSN, and Yahoo.
Slack is hugely successful today despite the presence of HipChat and CampFire — the two big names that had majority market share when Slack was a startup.
Here’s a fact: None of these popular products had anything innovative about them. It was all about creating a “better” package or a “superior” experience.
In some cases, it was just a better presentation. In many cases, it was superb marketing.
How is it that products, brands, companies, and software that were introduced to the world in the thick of competition became so popular and now rule the market?
Is it luck? Is it timing? Is it innovation?
None of the above. It’s focused incrementalism.
Ben Galbraith, Vice President of Global products for Walmart, notes that the reason why all these products were successful was because of the attention to detail including usability and interaction design.
The previous iterations of the same products (as above) failed due to a variety of reasons. Taking just web apps or software into consideration, some of the important reasons for failure were: ease of use, lack of visual appeal, and terrible UX/UI.
MySpace is a good example bad UX, when you compare it to Facebook. Or compare how Yahoo used to look when Google came along.
Jakob Nielsen a renowned web usability consultant points out that it takes only a tenth of a second for people to notice delays in reactions from a software product, website, or app.
If it takes more than a second for Software or apps to respond, people wait but most folks already lose focus.
Beyond 10 seconds, the software product is as good as dead.
Get good interaction design along with good visual design and you have a winner in a software product.
However, developing good software, apps, or products is no easy task given the variety of developmental frameworks, approaches, and the interplay of various other aspects such as visual design and usability methods.
Successful projects demand good planning, teamwork, and a cohesive play between cross-functional teams.
On the other hand, making development projects too rigid curtails creativity, inhibits problem-solving, and squeezes out practicality.
Software development methodologies sit in boxes. To each its own.
For that reason, software development teams can’t just declare that they’d use Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, and Scrum.
Each software development methodology has its pros and cons.
Methodologies exist to provide teams with a cohesive framework for better software development. None of the existing methodologies have to be exclusive (at the cost of another).
That’s why we believe that software development teams can’t just be adamant about using the Agile framework or waterfall techniques as exclusive approaches to software or app development.
Why not take the best of both approaches?
At Fermented Pixels, we believe that the best product design, software build, or app development happens when you embrace the advantages of one or more approaches to UX design and development.
You can’t just pick a methodology, dump it on a team, and hope to make it work.
The Agile Methodology is an iterative, team-centric, and incremental approach to software development.
By definition then, Agile embraces change. As end-goals are not immediately known, the approach is more evolving, so to speak.
With Agile, projects are broken down into manageable units leaving teams to focus on high-quality development, testing, and collaboration.
The Agile methodology takes consumer inputs and allows for continuous improvement by taking customer requirements, and team feedback into account.
Meanwhile, The Waterfall methodology introduces a more rigid structure, holistic planning, and proper documentation.
In a way, think of Waterfall as a solid, unrelenting backbone to the creative freedom, transparency, and flexibility that Agile methodology provides.
Using both methodologies more often than not allows teams to be not only creative but also process-oriented and goal-centric.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages when you put Agile Vs Waterfall, side-by-side:
Getting to work with both Agile and Waterfall, however, allows teams to get the best of both the worlds.
Using Agile and Waterfall together, software development teams can:
- Be Sequentially flexible
- Define requirements specifically while accommodating change.
- Deliver high-quality products all the while taking user inputs, feedback, and while keeping customers involved.
- Work with rigid processes for higher-quality processes while letting teams work with other fields of importance such as interaction design and visual design.
This isn’t just rhetoric though; this is the current state of UX design.
According to the NN Group research, when it comes to methodologies, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
While adoption of Agile is steadily on the rise, it’s not always used exclusively for software, UX/UI, and app development work. More than 22% of teams surveyed use both Agile and Waterfall frameworks for project completion.
Agile provides for better transparency and iteration. Waterfall allows teams to stick to their boundaries and develop processes to allow them to finish projects on time.
At FP, we highly believe in Agile when it comes to writing code, creating software products, and building apps. But we firmly believe that we also need the rigid structure and the defining boundaries that methodologies such as Waterfall provide for us.
We believe that there must be some sort of a hybrid approach to software development such as using both Waterfall and Agile while we build apps that add tremendous value to our clients.
Following such hybrid approaches takes resolve, commitment, dedication, and an earnest interest in providing value to our customers.
You can’t use the same hammer to drive every nail into the wall. The fact that so many different methodologies exist is to give you the creative freedom to create apps while creating efficient systems and processes to get to market faster.
If you can ignore the silly attempts to name the Hybrid Agile + Waterfall approach as Wagile, Agifall, or whatever, it’s important to look at the issue of boxing software teams into a single methodology and make the most of what’s really available for your use.
When change is the only constant, staying boxed in only brings in more trouble, not to mention crappy software products, dysfunctional apps, and zero value to clients.