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Use Scrum to Kick Any Custom Mobile App Development Project into Overdrive

Let us imagine you’re a business founder aching badly to give your custom mobile app development project a go. You got an utterly brilliant idea and a good chunk of money to fund it, but you are struggling to figure out how to bring your app to life.

Or maybe, it’s quite the other way round. Half a year past the kick-off, you’re about to end up with nothing but a complete mess-up. Whatever the case, a good point will be to bring Scrum into play.

Why favor Scrum? Sure enough, it’s no one-size-fits-all methodology, it works no magic. Still, we heavily stand by the claim that Scrum is all about agility, value, transparency, and flexibility.

Since we first went Scrum back then in 2008, it has helped us successfully cope with myriads of high-risk mobile app development projects. Whether it came to loosely defined or changing requirements, critical time-to-market or ROI demands — Scrum handled it all nice and easy, and here’s how.

Giving Projects a Quick Start

Customers are often afraid of getting stuck at the very beginning with too much planning and ideation hassle. That’s no sin: they are eager to get down to business, ASAP. Scrum helps it out with a fast start, meaning you can nail down the initial high-level requirements for sprint 1 right away, during sprint 0.

For a faster turnaround, we get project environment provisioning fully automated. Issue tracking, reporting dashboards, code repositories, development servers — all falls into place from square one on.

What’s for real is that the Scrum speed-up trick works even with those projects that arrive half-baked. One of our clients wasted 1.5+ years on development tweaks and pains, all for next to nothing — before a team of our mobile app developers picked it up. A month later, the client got his first major milestone, shippable.

So, what’s in it for you in the Scrum mobile app development deal? In a nutshell — frequent delivery of working increments, which are well worth the investment.

Favoring Flexibility of Scope and Investment Decisions

To doubt is human. Every so often, clients first come up with the plan that goes like “do what I said, when I said, and for how much I said”. As the project unfolds, this stops sounding like a plan, for quite a bunch of reasons. Say, the app that the client wanted a month ago no longer lives up to their current expectations. Now, they wish to:

  1. swap some features out or add them on
  2. put off a major milestone
  3. test the waters with an MVP
  4. you name it

With Scrum, this is a win-win situation. Going Scrum can well be the answer in case the customer’s got a wealth of ideas yet fears to invest into a heck of a waste. Unlike the traditional Waterfall approach, Scrum welcomes change, be it somewhere midway through the first sprint or late in development.

We’ve had a chance to make sure that Scrum sits well with multiple scope corrections, even when the project grew in duration and complexity twofold. Dealing with extra budget restrictions didn’t wreck our established workflow either, as for our team Scrum is about keeping up with the funding, whatever the scope.

Our go-to practice for tight budget cases is to optimize scope breakdown and maximize predictability. Sprint by sprint, we go all out to bring to the table a chunk of functionality so that the client obtains a tangible proof they get their money’s worth. In case they feel like changing direction, we help handle it right away to avoid going over budget.

This way, with an eye to the client’s investment concerns and in compliance with the overall release roadmap, the process gets way more dynamic and value-driven.

Betting On Early Value Delivery and Risk Management

Leaving no room for “fake it till you make it” approach, Scrum strongly advocates getting things done, fast. Speaking Scrum language, going fast isn’t just about driving development velocity to build a shippable increment within 4 weeks. What it is all about is the early value delivery mantra, meaning Scrum sets great store by app quality, viability, and business value — from day one.

For the client, early value implies gaining more business agility and faster ROI opportunities with each increment. At the end of the day, what really matters is the use of what we do, not how fast we do it. To build custom mobile applications the client can instantly capitalize on, it’s a must to keep tabs on the project health and value, all the way through. We at Oxagile got detailed procedures in place that help handle the risks and make every code bit count for success.

In terms of risk management, iterative Scrum can well be considered a winning methodology for both the Product Owner and the contractor. Testing the app build by build, together we obtain a well-timed feedback that helps detect failure risks early on and come up with the optimal strategies straight off. Under thorough quality assurance, backlog refinement and control, we easily catch on what it takes to make corrections if needed or wrap the whole deal up anytime.

Remember the project halfway to release we mentioned above? When we just picked it, that was a whole bunch of risks, with its track record of low process efficiency, hashed up timelines, and poor testing. On top of that, owing to the monolithic architecture, the app was about to go ashtray — each bit of new functionality spawned floods of regression bugs. This grew into the hardest headache to shake.

First and foremost, we offered implementing our custom Scrum framework to put things right. Being a complete stranger to the methodology, the client okayed just a part of our Scrum package. Yet, it turned out to be enough for fixing up what was out of order.

Hand in hand, our QA and custom mobile app development teams wrestled with buggy spaghetti code. With all efforts being feedback-driven — from incremental refactoring to extensive automated and unit testing — the pains were all over in several months. Sort of a laugh and a half next to loads of man-hours wasted by the client beforehand.

Putting Transparency and Predictability Above All

Why fixing what’s not broken? With outsourced projects, clients sometimes struggle to make out the reasons of repetitive code refactoring, and all-the-way testing, fixing, and patching. By depending on maximum transparency for success, Scrum helps unveil the overall development story to the client.

To easily keep track of the development velocity, instantly view blockers, and predict team performance at a glance, we utilize tangible progress and process metrics and offer custom dashboards. Making the most of our dedicated Definition of Ready and Definition of Done boards, we manage to smoothly keep up with the remaining budget and meet the completion date.

Honed all over 450+ projects, our DoR scheme ensures stories are clear, backed with accurate estimates, and are ready for implementation. For the client, this decreases risks and makes the overall release plan more predictable. To get a catch-all feedback on the development activities completion, it is enough to take a peek at the Definition of Done list.

With the DoD at hand, the client stays in the know of what’s remaining for a story to be release-ready, be it unit testing or code review and refactoring, bug fixing or documentation updates. No chance for the team to while the time away keeping back chunks of work till the timebox ends.

Many times all along our Scrum projects, we made certain that an increase in progress transparency can work a complete makeover. Just like it went at one of our recent projects. The client was obliged to report to a group of stakeholders on how the things went, and they came up with frequent change requests.

Quite naturally, scope flexibility and process transparency were top concerns for the client. But the trick was, they had their internal QA department testing our code yet keeping us away from all they did. Both the teams felt completely out of sync, which badly hampered the progress.

Once the client accepted our Lead Manual QA joining them onsite, things got much better. Under QA setup revamps, together we made it to a smooth weekly Alpha increment complete with comprehensive bug reporting. This way, the client got a solid grasp of the development process.

Making the Grade In Mobile App Development With Scrum

Putting together the utmost transparency, quick turnaround, flexible scope, and exceptional attention to the client’s concerns, Scrum makes for a winning path for both the Product Owner and the development team. Seamlessly handling the challenges like tight timelines, muddled up requirements, and frequent scope corrections, Scrum works them all up to advantage the client with a faster ROI and rewards the team with yet another success story to complete their track record. 

Here at Oxagile we polished up our Scrum process to specifically address the challenges of outsourced development — and it has already paid off tremendously when delivering products for some of the world’s most recognizable brands such as Google and Discovery, Inc.

Whether you’re seeking to drive maximum benefit from Scrum to handle a challenging mobile app development project, ask for a free quote while you’re at it. Drop us a brief line about your needs — that will do for us to respond to you right away and help you out with a value-based roadmap.

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