Starting with solutions: The minimum viable product

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One of the central beliefs to SSA’s development strategy is in ensuring clients quickly benefit from their custom built platform. The traditional method of slow process for eventual reward can be bettered in the modern industry with faster development cycles to improve a working product as we discuss here..
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5 reasons not to do your web development in-house

The IT Team

The Internet has been around for a long time. At least 15 years. Over half a lifetime if you are a twenty-something dotcom millionaire. For the rest of us with an interest in the web it is certainly long enough for a few different ‘eras’ of web development to have come and gone with a few useful lessons along the way. Continue reading

Pig, Elephant and Frog: Sprint Planning at SSA

Most people who know something about Agile development will have heard that work is divided into ‘sprints’. The idea is that work is time-boxed into fixed-length periods of productivity usually over 2-4 weeks.

In pure Agile the engineers would work through the backlog of stories in the priority order agreed with the client and try and get through as much work as possible in the time available. Continue reading

Telling a story: why we love user-stories for requirements capture


User stories are the de facto standard for expressing user requirements and have been for at least 10 years, at least in Agile web development projects. They might be a little informal for air traffic control systems or the US military but let’s not worry about that too much.

For everyday business systems the user story is a great way to express what the user will want out of a piece of software and I want to say a bit about how we use them at SSA and what we’ve learned about using the story in a commercial web build. Continue reading

The backlog – a replacement for ‘the specification’

The backlog, in Agile terminology, is the list of requirements (or ‘stories’) that are yet to be developed. It can contain the must-haves, the should-haves, the nice-to-haves and everything in between (what is doesn’t contain are any items that should not be worked on: these are put ‘on ice’ and are stored, as you would expect, in the ‘icebox’).

Some of our clients didn’t like the word ‘backlog’ at first because they thought it implied that the project was behind schedule. That’s a fair point. Out of curiosity, looking up the dictionary definition we get two quite different senses of the word. Continue reading