The importance of being Agile

After several months of training, analysis  and experimentation, in the third quarter of this year Focus PLM R&D department, responsible for the development of the company’s software products such as the Direct PLM connectors between Aras and the most popular MCADs, rolled out a new Agile process.

“We have been adopting some principles of Agile methodologies in our activities already, both for software development and in customer projects, but we have found it necessary to define and apply a complete process that leads from feature identification to software release” explains Sergio Salsedo, CEO at Focus PLM.

“The biggest challenge was finding the right mix of tools and artifacts that brings us the desired value with a sustainable effort”.

The selected process relies upon a combination of a typical Scrum team with planning and flow controlled by means of Kanban boards.

The company now defines a quarterly plan for 6 two-week sprints. Each sprint yields to a tested build of the product that can be deployed on demand.

“Cadence and time-boxing are key to improve predictability of our deliveries. We have also made a significant investment in expanding automated testing and integration and delivery processes” Salsedo adds.

“The Covid-19 emergency also added some logistical complexity… we handle information sharing and visibility through a mix of physical boards in the R&D site and “virtual” boards that allow people participating in the daily meeting and in other activities indifferently in our office or from home.”

“We are now starting our second quarterly cycle and we are already seeing the advantages of the new process. In addition to further improvements of the product development stream, we plan to start using the Agile approach also in customer’s implementation projects where flexibility and iterative refinement of specification are required” concludes Salsedo.