AFTAs 2016: Best Use of the Agile Methodology—StatPro

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New for the 2016 American Financial Technology Awards is the best use of the Agile methodology category, an award that reflects the continued adoption of Agile across the capital markets as the most efficient and practical software development model.

Wimbledon, UK-based StatPro embarked on its Agile journey the best part of a decade ago when it started the research and development work for what would become StatPro Revolution, the firm's flagship performance measurement and portfolio analytics platform. This journey began with a small development team that leveraged Agile to create a cloud-based, iterative process with the mantra, "release early and release often."

New tools were used to create application mock-ups with collaborative comments instead of large product specification documents. From there, early releases of Revolution were made across development, staging and production environments, and, without any external clients, code updates could be pushed on a daily basis.

As StatPro readied Revolution for a production environment in 2011, its client-facing release frequency (cadence) had to change. The development process remained agile with development sprints, scrum meetings and Kanban planning boards, but clients found it difficult to “swallow” new versions of production software released on a weekly basis, a common theme that pretty much all Agile teams need to consider when determining release cycles. This meant storing up internal releases that finally went to client-facing production systems every six to eight weeks. 

StatPro describes its Agile initiative as something of an “education process” with many of its clients, who now see the benefit of the methodology over the Waterfall approach. Clients used to be required to test entire applications, a process not needed with Revolution due to smaller, incremental changes being made with new functionality added iteratively. It was also easier to communicate to clients exactly what had changed and what needed and didn’t need testing.

The vendor’s development speed and agility increased more than five-fold compared with its StatPro Seven platform, while its development team was also able to fully focus on the next new version of the platform, given that there were no legacy versions to support.

New tools were used to create application mock-ups with collaborative comments instead of large product specification documents. From there, early releases of Revolution were made across development, staging and production environments, and, without any external clients, code updates could be pushed on a daily basis.

Agile continues to serve StatPro well: It built Revolution Performance, its new cloud-based performance platform, and StatPro Benchmark Manager, its benchmark management platform, using the methodology, both of which are housed entirely in public clouds, allowing StatPro to leverage an automated and Agile development and build process. 

Agile has also allowed StatPro to engage more with its clients early on during product development to ensure that products fit market demands and expectations.  

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