Here at Comet we pride ourselves as being the customer interaction experts – with our main focus being on the relationships we build with our clients, the relationship between our clients and their customers and how we help to maintain and strengthen both of these things. So it is not surprising that our developers and testers work using the Agile approach, a paradigm based very much on the idea of adaptability, flexibility and customer focus.
What is Agile?
Agile was developed as an alternative to the classic ‘Waterfall’ methodology: a linear process beginning with the gathering of all requirements necessary to develop the product, continuing with a build based solely on those initial requirements, culminating with a presentation to the client once complete. The main problem with this approach is that customer requirements are always subject to change and development – especially in such a rapidly changing industry as technology. And so a less rigid and more collaborative model was needed, a way of working that could withstand unpredictability and forever-changing client requirements. And so Agile was born!
Agile uses small cycles of implementing new functionality every few weeks (sprints), meaning that if requirements change then the impact is low. It is all about a continuous process of improvement, requiring the team to react quickly to market change.
Why does Comet use Agile?
At Comet our main focus is the client and their relationship with their customers, and utilising the Agile approach allows us to maintain and intensify this focus. The biggest benefit of the approach is that it allows closer and more continuous contact with our clients, both in terms of their changing requirements but also regarding visibility of the product and ensuring they are involved in its development throughout the whole process. It is highly likely that new requirements will arise - especially in longer and more complex projects - or that old ones will need modifying. And so this approach offers a way to bring these on board with limited stress to all parties and little impact on work already completed. Working in short two-week sprints means that the team are able to iteratively deliver small chunks of the project, offering the client the chance to review and decide how they wish to continue. It also reduces costs when it comes to changing any part of the original plan.
This way of working is also beneficial for those individuals – the developers and testers – who are making the products. It is a more relaxed and enjoyable way of working, which in turn will produce a higher quality product. It enables the teams to work closely when analysing requirements, solving problems quickly and delivering what is needed on time and regularly. Spotting errors is cheaper and more efficient, and individuals are more involved in all aspects of the process, which further enhances the talent and knowledge of the team as a whole.
It is principles such as these that connects Agile methods to the Comet values and inspires us to use of this way of working. Agile represents the very best service and means of interacting with our customers and because we are the customer interaction experts, it is therefore only natural for us utilise a way of developing software that encompasses the same ideals and practices.
Managing Director (UK)
Iain is currently a Director at Comet Global Consulting. He joined Comet in 2010, following a 10 year career at Chordiant Software, in which he occupied senior roles initially in Consultancy Management then as Client Executive responsible for the overall relationship including the enterprise sales activity with a number of major accounts such as BSkyB, RBS, Barclays, and Elisa. He achieved considerable enterprise sales success across the Chordiant suite and in-particular the market leading Decision Management solution that delivered many tens of millions of business benefit to his clients.
Iain’s real passion is ensuring that clients leverage their investment in IT solutions to optimise the value obtained from each and every interaction they have with their customers. When not in the office, Iain can be found on the golf course – his second passion in life.