1Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Kathmandu University Dhulikhel, Kavre, Nepal
Corresponding author details:
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Copyright: © 2019 Sharma G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 international License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
There are several methods that are used in system or software development incorporating
information technology, among them AGILE are one of the method which are widely used in
recent days. Most of the systems these days are of dynamic in nature that means the software
needs time to time update to meet the current market needs. The quality of a system is
ensured when it has ideally no bugs, no errors and meets the requirement specifications; for
this also AGILE method plays a significant role. Research and development center in Nepal
for Verscend Inc., Waltham, MA, US offers risk-assessment services and decision analytics
being based on US health care. Verscend Technologies has 311 members performing
different scale of job to build up healthcare informatics solution that helps end user to
manage their health risk. Adaptation of AGILE methodology in Research & Development
department of Verscend Information Technology has been evaluated in the research paper.
Significance of the methodology has been analyzed through survey conducted within the
organization among the professionals. More of positive aspects observed were; time boxing,
flexibility, risk and cost control, simplicity and ease, team strength, individual visibility,
and valuable Product and customer satisfaction. Few negative aspects observed were;
Unpredictability, lack of cohesion and re-work. These results were perceived regarding the
way scrum is implemented in the department. With all of these observation and survey it
has been found that AGILE methodology would catalyze the system development cycle if
adapted with perfection.
AGILE; SCRUM; R&D; XP; DSDM; FDD; ASD; Crystal
Verscend Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is one of the leading software companies in Nepal. It is the only research and development center in Nepal for Verscend Inc, Waltham, MA, US. The company offers risk-assessment services and decision analytics being based on US health care. Verscend Technologies Pvt. Ltd. has 311 members performing different scale of job to build up healthcare informatics solution that helps end user to manage their health risk.
R & D department is the biggest department of the company collaborating six circular structured cross-functional teams. R & D department has 62 professionals focusing on the analytical and research specific job with the common goal of making company stay ahead of the technology curve. R & D is AGILE focused department adapting the following principles in the SCRUM framework.
Qumer A et al.  developed an analytical framework (4-DAT) that evaluated the degree of agility in six selected agile methods and two traditional methods (waterfall and spiral) (Table 2). This analytical framework can be used to select a suitable agile method in system engineering. As investigated by Fowler , the crystal method is a public-centered method. Crystal method focuses on dividing work into incremental speed. Each increment tacks some iteration to complete.
High level differences between the agile methods have been outlined through (Figures 1). Methods are ranked according to the degree of agility evaluated through the research done by Qumer A et al. . According to the analysis,
In traditional method DSDM had not originated as agile method
and it was recently added in the list of agile approach. The agile
critical success factors are highlighted in Table 3.
Table 3: Agile critical success factors (Chow and Cao, 2008) 
Figure 1: Comparison of the degree of agility
Being focused on the research purpose to evaluate the adaptation of agile methodology in system development cycle, survey was conducted among the professionals from the R&D department of Verscend Information Technology.
Participants: Out of 62 professionals, 50 of them took part in the survey.
Tools: Participants were provided with the questionnaire that had two questions regarding scrum implementation.
Procedure: Participants were requested to collect the questionnaire
from the reception desk. They filled out the questionnaire with
their choice of answer and submitted those back to the reception
desk. I also had a small session with one of the scrum team. As team
discussed the efficiency and limitations of scrum adaptation, I noted
down the points that would support my research.
Out of 50 participants, 34 of them agreed that the use of Scrum in their work is making the job more efficient. 9 of the participants are not satisfied with the way scrum is adapted in the organization and 5 of them believed that it can be adapted in a better way. 2 of them don’t feel that their project needs the agile approach (Figures 2 & 3).
Most participants feel that the adaptation of Scrum is beneficial to the organization whereas few of them believe that the adaptation process can be further improved. Evaluation of scrum has been done based on survey result and discussion session with the team. More of positive aspects & few negative aspects of scrum implementation in the organization were seen through the research.
1. Time boxing: This constraint builds a layer of responsibility in the team to deliver the output in the pre-defined time frame. This develops realization of time within the team and enforces the prioritization.
2. Flexibility: As there’s no hard-fast rule in scrum adaptation, the flexible framework can be adjusted with the change in requirement or nature of the project.
3. Risk and cost control: Incremental approach in scrum enables the addition of new features in a project in every sprint. Such incremental approach promotes identifying and responding the risk before the final release. This kind of scenario alerts the team to regularly review the product a part of risk control. Fixed budget is allocated to the project and this constraint controls the cost.
4. Simplicity and ease: Scrum has simple framework that integrates the incremental development in a simpler way. Working on project becomes easier due to proper documentation of requirements, success stories, risk, failure and release notes in all stages.
5. Team Strength & Individual visibility: Discussing success and failure together strengthens the team power. Accomplishment and problem solving strategies are shared within the team through daily planning and review meeting. These meetings also increase the exposure of individual.
6. Valuable product and Customer satisfaction: Product owner actively monitors the progress and check if the requirements have properly incorporated in the product. Product is also reviewed by the client after each release and the review notes are to be incorporated in next release. This approach endures the customer satisfaction and maintains the value of the product.
1. Unpredictability: Project undergoes several sprints, so it is difficult to predict the accurate progress and effort estimation of the project.
2. Lack of cohesion: Since the project journey is fragmented in the scrum, integration part gets complex and it may result disjointed product.
3. Re-work: Feedbacks are always open so, there are high chances of change in requirement from client’s end. In such case, team must go through re-work.
After the results has been obtained and observation has been made through the survey by evaluating the pros and cons of incorporating the Agile methodology the following recommendations are made:
Figure 2: Survey on reason behind adapting scrum
Figure 3: Survey on significance of adaptation of scrum
Agile is principled yet flexible project management framework. Developers and client, both are involved in the development cycle and this collaborative aspect increases the value of the product. Adaptation of agile reduces the risk of client dissatisfaction & product defects. Proper exposure and visibility boost the morale of developers. Iterative planning process makes the adaptation of requirement changes easier. Despite of all the positive factors, agile has been misconceptualized as unprofessional and undisciplined framework.
If understood properly and adapted well, for future work study of
Agile is the only way to keep the company ahead of the competition
with fast product releases & changes adaptability [6-10]. Efficiency
of the Agile methodology depends on public factor such as user
involvement, communication and documentation skill. If these
factors are made strong then the Effectiveness of the method would
take the height.
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