NEWS & VIEWS
Through a greater understanding of our customers’ needs, FSL have a drive to enhance our existing products and develop new offerings for our market.
Craig Hurcum joined FSL as the Development Manager in 2016 and has since implemented significant improvement to FSL’s software development process. Through his 30 years in the industry, Craig has gained extensive software management experience and as a champion of agile software development methodologies successfully introduced it to FSL. Agile software development gives FSL the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment. It requires a high level of team interaction and coordination in order to adapt to changes quickly. Therefore, the Development Team has adapted their daily routine to ensure that everyone in the team is up-to-date and knowledgeable of any changes in development projects.
FSL has been using the Disciplined Agile framework since January 2017 and it has become a mature method of choosing our way of working on a project by project basis. A good project example is the development of a new in-house tool for our Data Team. From starting to build the tool till it went alive, it only took the developers three months while they were also engaged in many other projects. Regular meetings were set up with the Data Team, which not only allowed the developers to learn the specific needs and requests of the ‘customer’ but also to ensure an ongoing review of the development process, if any request was changed. Up to this time, the Data Team had been using many manual processes and out-dated tools. However, the Development Team started with a blank sheet of paper and aimed to design the tool tailored to the specific needs of the Data Team. As a result, the new tool was developed with not only a completely new fresh look, but also with a number of new functions which enabled the automation a lot of work which was previously done manually. The same development process has now been rolled out across other projects.
Since the creation of FSL’s Research & Strategy Team in July 2018, their work gather market and customer intelligence is used to further enhance this process. The team have spoken with many of our customers to gather feedback and understand their needs. These insights are then fed back to the Development Team. Client suggestions or requests can be discussed and considered whether they can be included in future projects. This gives the developers the opportunity to react quickly to new requests and shape our software to meet customers’ needs.
Apart from developing new software, another big responsibility of our Development Team is ensuring the efficient and continuous improvement of our current products – as the development process naturally evolves into continuous delivery. The new development process has divided the developers’ time more equally between maintaining the existing products and continuous enhancement.