Agile, Ipswitch & the Egalitarian Approach to Software Development

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AgileHow It’s Made is a popular TV show here in the States, where the viewer gets a behind-the-scenes look at how the products they use on an everyday basis are created. Sometimes it’s an episode on yellow mustard, other times it’s toothpicks and sporks, but almost every time it’s a mainstream consumer product.

Since the show’s creators are not going to air an episode on how MOVEit is made (we tried, no luck), I thought I would do the next best thing: Give you a quick look into how our file transfer products are created – and it starts and ends with the Agile methodology Scrum.

For those unfamiliar with the approach, Scrum is commonly defined as “a software development framework  based on iterative development and incremental delivery, where requirements and solutions evolve through close collaboration on self-organizing, cross-functional teams.”

In other words, Scrum is a process that adapts to change – changes in scope, in requirements, in deadlines. Hence the name, Scrum (adapted from the sport of Rugby where teams operate in very close contact.)

Those of us here at Ipswitch are strong proponents of Scrum. It provides transparency around the day-to-day activities. It accelerates the development process but not at the expense of quality. It helps us move quickly. But there is another reason why we’re such big fans of Scrum, and it’s not a reason you hear very often…

For us, this approach facilitates an egalitarian approach to software development. So often within software companies, the path of product development is done through a top-down approach, where orders are given by senior members and executed by junior members. Not so at Ipswitch. Rather, our Scrum adoption gives everyone – regardless of title or experience level – an equal say as to how the product is to evolve. Everyone has a voice, in other words (though there are occasional overriding votes as you might expect).

Great ideas can come from everywhere, something every Scrum team can attest. By eliminating the usual hierarchy and command and control culture, we’re able to receive new ideas and insights from our entire team, from the CTO to the QA engineer and everyone in between.

The result? Industry leading file transfer products from Ipswitch. Scrum has played a part in the production of every product – from WS FTP Server to MOVEit. Moreover, it played a part of each new version, as well as products that have yet to be released!

The purpose of this post was two-fold. On the one hand, we wanted to explain why we’re such strong proponents of Scrum, which hopefully we’ve done. The second purpose was to attract like-minded developers and QA engineers. So if you’re interested in this egalitarian approach to software development – if you want to contribute more to a project than just your coding and testing skills – then we’d love to hear from you. Take a look at our current list of career opportunities.

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