Is Traditional Development Style right for your company?
An important part of every aspect of life is to understand that there is always more than one way to do something. This is no different in developing your eCommerce website. Although most people have gone towards an agile developmental strategy, traditional development still has a place in certain industries and with certain business models.
What is Traditional Development?
Traditional development is based on the idea of pre-organized stages or phases of development. The flow on a traditional development team is unidirectional, from planning down to maintenance. Although there have been some adjustments to the traditional unidirectional flow with feedback between each stage and redevelopment sometimes implemented, the most traditional developments only go in one direction.
One of the governing strategies of this development style is to have a specialist in that field along the way in each phase.
For example, in the image, there is a physical design step and in this step, there are website designers whose sole job is to create the user experience. Traditional development tends to create a quality control effort and increases the thought that management’s ability to coordinate everything is much easier and greater in the waterfall.
A traditional development approach is best suited for industries where all the requirements and final products are well understood.
An industry like housing construction is a good example. Ultimately everyone knows that the final completed product will be a house.
This strategy can fall short in the ability to support changing requirements through the different phases though.
When does traditional development make sense?
That is not to say that the traditional development approach never makes sense. There are a few instances that a traditional approach makes sense:
There is a traditional mindset and skillset within your team. There are teams out there that have simply not gained the agile skillset yet. For whatever reason, these teams continue to use traditional development strategy and it makes sense for them to continue until they gain the mindset and skillset of an agile developer. Teams are more likely to succeed when they follow a strategy they understand.
When or if the project is low-risk traditional development might make sense. The structured and static nature of the traditional development strategy makes it poorly suited to address risk. The nature of traditional development also makes it hard to implement new ideas along the process to negate these identified risks.
You’ve done this project before. One category of projects that traditional development seems to thrive is repeat projects. When your development team has done these projects before and is aware of the timeline and steps of completion; it is unlikely to run into any new unseen surprises.
If the requirements of your project don’t evolve; traditional development may make sense. There are certain projects that have the same requirement from start to finish. These projects are inherently low-risk, making it a possible candidate for traditional development.
Even though all of these situations present an opportunity for your development team to use a traditional development strategy, it does not mean that your team has to do it that way. It also does not mean that an agile development strategy would not work.
These things play no role on if traditional makes sense.
The following issues have no or very little impact on if traditional makes sense for your development team:
The industry that your development team is working in should have no effect on your decision. There has been a thought process in the past that traditional development makes more sense for certain industries. Things such as eCommerce were thought to make sense for agile development but not for industries that were well established, such as banking. However, a quick search for agile development in your field will tell you that there are teams doing agile development successfully.
When the desire is to get it done right the first time. When the goal is to get it right the first time, generally speaking, agile development teams are more effective in practice. The ability to adapt and address issues as they arise instead of sending it back a step or two and restarting makes it more fluent in an approach to getting it published right the first time. When somebody suggests that their company needs a traditional development strategy, chances are their development team is stuck in a traditional mindset.
The desire for predictability. Agile development teams, due to their transparency, tend to be more predictable than a traditional development approach. This strategy can make it easier for seniors in the company to also see what phase of the operation is happening and where any issues arise during the development.
You’re working at scale. Is a traditional development better than an agile or cascading development when working with scale? Not really. Agile development has the same capabilities as a traditional development usually with greater flexibility in their steps to completion.
How to Choose your Development Style?
There are a few key things to consider when deciding which development style makes the most sense for your business; the needs of your business, the customer perception, and the projects timeline just to name a few.
We talked earlier about how traditional development makes sense for an industry like construction. However, in rapidly changing industries like Information Technology, traditional development teams may fail to achieve project goals.
The major disadvantages of traditional development are:
- The business needs have to be well defined in advance and the solutions to those needs have to be well defined as well.
- The entire set of requirements has to be given in the initial phase and there is not much (if any) chance of modifying these after development has started.
To condense down everything and to help you decide, look at this list and if anything on it is true, traditional development is not a good choice for you;
- My team is used to working in agile development strategies.
- This is a new project I have never attempted.
- My project is high-risk.
- I am unsure of the final needs of my project.
- My team works in an ever-changing industry.
Traditional development methodologies certainly still have a place in development. The development strategy makes sense mostly when requirements are precise. If you know exactly what you want and can confidently say that there will be no changes in the scope through the project development then it might be for you. However, most companies can achieve their project goals by relying on an agile development strategy.
No matter what industry you are in, NuEthic can help to maximize the capabilities of your eCommerce business. Reach out to us today and see what we can do for you.