Distributed Agile Practice for the Healthcare Solution
As a joint effort, Allscripts and SoftServe designed a Homecar e system to improve the clinical quality of care performance, and operational control for large, integrated homecare organizations, as well as small homecare agencies. The SoftServe team also provided full maintenance to Allscripts Homecare throughout the entire project on a release-by-release basis.
In the early releases, product development followed a traditional, Waterfall development model. As the product became more complex, a more advanced methodology became critical. Allscripts and SoftServe agreed to move from a Waterfall to an Agile software development approach.
Benefits of Agile include:
- Ensuring a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals
- Providing immediate feedback from the product owner and end-users on newly developed parts of the product
- Collaborating between cross-functional teams, which include business analysts, developers, test engineers and technical writers
- Demonstrating ongoing progress that reduces surprises
- Delivering high-quality software
Agile methodology included conducting regular meetings with the SCRUM teams and a Product Owner. The Product Owner played a critical role in achieving the project success in scope of Agile methodology, he/she:
- Defined and prioritized the user stories of the product
- Defined the Product Backlog content on a release date
- Adjusted features and priority before each sprint
- Performed acceptance testing of every user story
- Accepted or rejected the work results
Another important player in Agile development is the Client Focus Group that helped the Product Owner prioritize the user stories. The SCRUM Master’s meetings were held to encourage maximum collaboration among teams, coordinate cross-team priorities, and provide more flexible change management.
Each new project started with a Zero sprint so the team could analyze, prioritize, and estimate each user story.
Because people are at the heart of every SoftServe project success, it is important to have the right people, in the right place, at the right time to keep the project moving smoothly beyond the techniques and processes.
Using Agile methodology was the basis for strong communications between our integrated teams, and fostered continuous feedback and collaboration. Agile development methodology increased communication between customers and business analysts, and eliminated needless work load for the development and QA teams, which in turn reduced the product development costs. Allscripts valued the increased responsiveness to change, the accelerated time to market, and the improvements to quality and efficiency.
“Moving to an Agile team model from a Waterfall model can be disruptive and somewhat intimidating for team members. Whereas with Waterfall, most communications between Allscripts business analysts and SoftServe were through senior-level team members, with Agile, all team members are in regular communication with each other and have a say in how the project moves forward. Agile is all about people and communication. I’m proud that the team members at Allscripts and SoftServe adapted to Agile so collaboratively and quickly, taking advantage of the benefits an Agile process can bring to improve both the quantity and quality of the deliverables for our customers”, says Dave Staudenmaier, Director, Product Development at Allscripts.