Here at Intronis, we use a framework for our development work that grew from the Agile programming methodology and Object Oriented movement called Scrum. It is also directly related to the principles laid down in the “Toyota Way” and lean manufacturing process. You might ask yourself why and how a manufacturing process could be related to software development, and why a company that specializes in online backup and recovery would embrace it to run the entire company, but we’ll answer that for you!
One of the realities of software development is that requirements change. Sometimes they change faster than the project can be completed, and sometimes they change because what the customers thought they wanted was different from what they actually wanted. How many times have you walked into an ice cream shop thinking “chocolate chocolate chip” and looked at the case and decided on the strawberry cheesecake? How many times have you used a piece of software and said to yourself “wow, this is nice, but wouldn’t it be great if it did this too?”. Sometimes what you see just makes what you really want a little more clear.
Sometimes the market changes too. Competitors enter all the time, and old competitors are constantly changing and upgrading what they offer just as much as you do. Why is it that Toyota gets it so right and upsets the order in the US and is profitable, and GM gets it so wrong and is now teetering in bankruptcy? How do you quickly and efficiently respond to changing customer needs and competitive pressure from others in terms of product offerings and cost? At Intronis the answer is Scrum.
The whole idea behind Scrum is iteration and small steps that deliver real business value. So instead of focusing on the “Big Picture” while trying to implement the entire project with all items defined beforehand, Scrum starts with the truly American idea of “how can I do the least amount of work and deliver the most value”. Slyly, this doesn’t actually mean working less, it just means working RIGHT. We believe that, while thinking of the “Big Picture” is important, it isn’t as important as developing software that your customers really want and find it ridiculously easy to use. It follows that our customers will know what they want as they see it, and developing software is as much of a partnership with them as it is an engineering feat. We believe that trying to do it all up front in the traditional waterfall method doesn’t work when your partners and customers are the focus, and the market is constantly changing. In order to get it right, you have to be agile in the true sense of the word, and Scrum provides the way to be truly agile.
Intronis aims to provide the most secure and ridiculously easy to use online backup and recovery solution on the market for small to medium sized businesses, and provide a solid platform for our partners who choose to integrate our services with theirs. In order to achieve this our entire company runs using the Scrum framework. Yes, the entire company – from the executive team, to the sales teams, to our Gung-Ho customer service teams, to the engineering teams. We believe that this advantage will give us the same advantage that Toyota got over GM. The ability to out-execute and out-deliver every other solution in the market. You can bet on it.
In future posts we’ll talk more about the Scrum process, and the “Intronis Way”. We’ll keep you up to date on what is happening with our product, and how we’re doing on the journey to deliver it to our customers. Because, after all, our customers are all that matter, and the reason we chose Scrum as the best practice to give them what they expected and wanted, not what we thought they did.