Developing in 4WD mode

Alasco’s journey to the current development process

Anselm Bauer
Alasco development cycle visualized

At Alasco, we strive to improve the cost control methods of construction processes through the combination of modern software and digital workflows. One year ago we founded the company and started to build the first product iterations with a very small team and no bigger processes behind. As time went by, our team grew to a full-fledged agile team with all disciplines needed to build great products (PO, UX researchers, designers, developers, etc…).

Like every team, we experienced difficulties on the way to our current development process. Having more than ten years of experience in building products with agile methodologies, we ran into problems, we observed in previous teams already. However, we discovered new problems due to being a B2B product instead of B2C now. Here are a few examples you might recognize from your agile team:

  • Unclear responsibilities
  • Feature creep
  • Planning meetings not efficient
  • Balance between up-front work and decisions in the sprint
  • When and how is the user involved
  • What is exploration and what is delivery
  • How to deal with ad-hoc customer requests
  • When and how do we estimate

Experiments

At Alasco we like to do experiments before we adapt things and don’t waste time in opinionated discussions. The current landscape of tools and methodologies to structure a development process might be overwhelming and every team has to find their combination and workflow. The innovation spectrum of methodologies

Here is a collection of things we experimented with before we created our version of a development process for our SaaS product.

Dealing with a complex domain (cost controlling and workflows in construction projects) we came up with our current development process, which incorporates our users and domain experts in every stage. Compared to our experience with B2C products, we spend more time in the first phases of understanding the user’s problem and sketching possible solutions.

Alascos 4WD process

One of the biggest challenges in agile development is to find the point where an insight is good enough to move on to the next “phase” and rule out options. Keeping all options open until the end would increase the cost immeasurably.

Therefore, we have divided the process into the following four parts and defined artifacts as output for each phase to provide input for the next phase.

Alasco's development process

In the next weeks we will present each phase in detail in a blog post and explain how and why we estimate twice.

Good reads: When, which … Design Thinking, Lean, Design Sprint, Agile?

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