How Immediate Feedback Enhances Agile Development

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How Immediate Feedback Enhances Agile Development

How Immediate Feedback Enhances Agile Development by Mendix

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Kairos Society’s Global Summit in New York City – a networking event for college entrepreneurs and current industry leaders. The event was held at the United Nations and the New York Stock Exchange – not typical networking venues, but conducive to the Society’s goal of “Uniting the Brightest Young Minds to Fuel Innovations for a Better Tomorrow.” Beyond the fervent entrepreneurial ambition exhibited by Kairos Fellows, we had the honor of listening to several impactful speakers, one of which was Thomas Goetz, Executive Editor at Wired Magazine.

His talk particularly struck my interest as it relates to the topics I often discuss on this blog; the interaction of end user and software developer, the behavioral change (both organizational and operational) that comes with adopting Agile development, and the cyclical feedback that imparts better aligned software to the enterprise …all wrapped into Goetz’s two words: feedback loops.

He described several instances of feedback loops changing human behavior for the better. For example, we have all sped past speed limit signs comfortably above the limit – but what about those that show you your speed. These signs typically slow you down because you immediately compare your speed to the limit.

In Agile development, feedback loops play a vital role in enhancing the development of enterprise applications. You, the engineer, can deploy your application so that an end user can see the app and provide immediate feedback. You now have an updated set of requirements, wherein you can implement these changes in the next iteration.

As this loop is repeated a few dozen times throughout your software development life cycle, you will have greatly improved the quality and effectiveness of your application. This results in part, because you have encouraged your end user to provide their insights, but also because you’ve innately employed a human sensor of sorts to track your alignment.

This cycle runs homogeneously throughout the development of your application, and on a more macro scale, throughout the lifecycle of your application. In other words, once the application is adopted, consistent feedback from users can be considered a maintenance activity.

The feedback loop phenomena can be observed in any number of activities wherein immediate feedback, by electronic sensor or human subjectivity, promotes an action or behavioral change. Until this weekend, I hadn’t realized the significance of this observation as it relates to the adoption of the Mendix platform. As a matter of fact, it just may be one of its greatest features.

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