Startups need to stay competitive and use their limited resources in smart ways. We believe that is best accomplished through an agile framework that takes an iterative approach and develops software incrementally. Because the software development process is an ongoing one, sprint cycles create that agile framework that allows teams to pivot much more easily in order to respond to a number of changing priorities.
However, a sprint based pricing model versus a project based price for development can be confusing if you are not familiar with it. Project based pricing may seem more straightforward because you can define all the software development features you will recieve for a fixed price. At the end of the project, you would ideally receive exactly what you envisioned and paid for.
Project based prices are easy to understand. However, they can be too rigid for maximally efficient and agile modern software development. Luckily, sprint cycles can accomodate the needs of modern ongoing software development.
Why Sprint Cycles are a better investment.
At Code Hangar, we encourage our clients to release value-creating software as early and as often as possible. This approach is based on Lean Startup Methodologies and what has worked best with our clients. This way, stakeholders and developers can test their assumptions about the app much earlier, get feedback from users, and pivot or scrap misguided priorities if the original plan doesn’t quite ideally suit the needs of the users it serves in actual practice.
This degree of flexibility and adaptability isn’t possible with longer-timeline traditional “waterfall” project scopes and releases. With project large scopes, delays or changing requirements at any stage of the process can compound and impact subsequent stages. This can lead to extended release dates and longer periods without market feedback.
More importantly, financial resources could be wasted on building features that customers never actually use.
Instead, with sprints, agile teams are able to respond to market needs quickly and create a service model that allows their most valuable users to feel heard. In turn, this interaction facilitates the development of an overall better product more quickly and at a lower cost than would be possible with traditional project based approach.
What is a 'sprint'?
According to Scrum.org, a sprint is:
“A time-box of one month or less during which a ‘Done,’ useable, and potentially releasable product increment is created. Sprints have consistent durations during a development effort. A new sprint starts immediately after an old sprint.”
At Code Hangar, we have found a two week sprint cycle to be ideal for most projects. This ensures that app users get a steady stream of new features, updates, and bug fixes.
We determine what work will be done and delivered by the end of the sprint before we start the cycle. In order to provide the most value, the requested features and enhancements are broken down and prioritized into one of four categories:
- Priority 1: High Impact, low effort investment
- Priority 2: High Impact, high effot investment
- Priority 3: Low impact, low effort investment
- Priority 4: Low impact, high effort investment
Large workflows and features can be planned out over multiple sprint cycles
while simultaneously working to deliver smaller features at the end of every sprint. This way, even if a larger feature takes three or four sprints to accomplish, we never let too much time pass before a value-creating feature or enhancement is released to users.
For clients who only have a prototype and have no software yet, we plan out multiple sprint cycles that will build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as quickly as possible, usually within 8-weeks. This way, founders can begin to test the market regarding assumptions they made with the initial design and build a user base ASAP.
We invite founders, or whoever is closest to customers, to participate in our regular sprint reviews and planning meetings as they will offer valuable perspectives. In the early stages of a startup, founders are often closest to customers and can offer feedback at those stages. As the customer base grows, we will also address that feedback in sprint reviews.
Why We Sprint at Code Hangar.
Sprints are best suited for ongoing development where it is difficult or unfavorable to define what “done” looks like. With a regular release schedule, feedback can be gathered from users and new design features can easily be scheduled into future sprints to respond to arising needs. This also allows much greater flexibility to pivot toward unexpected priorities if the market demands it.
In contrast, longer project scopes delay releasing new or updated features to customers. This also delays gathering invaluable customer feedback to inform ongoing development.
However, in sprint-based development, each sprint represents the smallest scope that can viably be released to customers in a short period of time. This ensures development is closely aligned with customer needs.
Purpose of Sprint Review & Planning
It’s important for sprint cycles to include review and planning meetings with the development team and founders or stakeholders. Meetings will review design and development deliverables from the most recent sprint. With feedback discussed in the meeting, adjustments to deliverables in the upcoming sprint can be made.
As features are delivered to customers, their feedback will often be surprising, and founders may learn things they didn’t originally anticipate. In sprint planning meetings, we’re able to constructively discuss what we have learned from user feedback. That information will either confirm that our plan for the next sprint is on target. Or we will adjust if priorities have changed.
How Sprint Review and Planning Process Works at Code Hangar
Sprint Review and Planning is typically a one hour meeting that happens at the end of one sprint and prior to the beginning of the next sprint. These meetings are not only valuable for sprint cycle review, but it also keeps communication open between us and the start-ups we work with. With a sprint model, stakeholders are guaranteed to have an in depth discussion about ongoing app development worked into their pricing structure about every two weeks.
We hope this gives you a better understanding about the benefits of our agile model for app development using sprint cycles. We work exclusively in this model because we believe that it provides the best value to our customers’ long term investment needs.
Plus, unlike traditional project scope pricing that requires large deposits (sometimes 50% of the total cost) up front before work can begin, sprint pricing is billed to clients after every sprint. This way, the customer actually pays for both work performed and development that is maximally useful to their users and responsively prioritized.
About Author: Code Hangar
Code Hangar is a software development company that builds amazing web, iOS, and Android apps for startups that are ready to launch ASAP. Are you ready?