May 17, 2016Devvela insights
4 min read

Flashback: Devvela Goes Agile

Running from Waterfall to Agile

We haven’t been Agile from the beginning. But, back then, in 2007, how many dev shops were that? Waterfall seemed to work fine for most. However, its flaws were obvious. As we grew, the size, complexity and scope of our contracts increased, and doing things the old way was growing more and more difficult. Soon it became clear to us that waterfall wasn’t an option anymore.

Typically, one won’t admit it’s time to change until something breaks in the current system. This is what happened to us: something did break having left team members furious and frustrated. Under these circumstances, could they deliver quality work? Hell, no!

Once upon a time, there was a very special client. He came to us and asked us to build a complex customer loyalty software for a huge retail chain. Good heaven, how enthusiastic, how full of optimism we were as we tackled the project! However, our enthusiasm didn’t last long. As mentioned above, this was a very special client, both restlessly innovative and impatient (a good entrepreneur’s qualities, aren’t they?). As we were working on the core product he would regularly pipe in with new features demanding us to dive right in. Our engineers and product managers had to do extra hours to make it all right - all in vain.

Company management realized soon we weren’t doing business anymore - we were just building something instead. Something the client wasn’t satisfied with. We couldn’t finish the core product because we had to keep up with never-ending influx of new ideas coming from the client which we had to explain to him over and over again (because he demanded the core product built all the same!). Work on the project literally turned into a death march. Finally, our CTO suggested the client we did day long iterations and somehow, probably thanks to that only, we managed to finish the project. To that point, engineers and management were totally used up and almost hated the product they had built.

Alright, lesson was learned. We were sure we didn’t want to get through the same nightmare ever again. As described above, we have tried some primitive form of iterative development and liked its flavour. The time was right to go Agile. But we didn’t know much about the methodology and its implementation, and needed to learn.

Our first step was, as you might expect, self-education. Books, articles, lectures, webinars - all sorts of media, whatever we could discover on the Internet went immediately into our basket to be analyzed and tested right after. Was it helpful? Yes, for we have developed general understanding of Agile and even started to see some minor details. And no - we still were children waiting for a grownup to enter the room and show us how Nintendo works.

So, we set out in a search of such person. We found a company that had been practicing Agile successfully for a while and invited their team lead to help us. He did an awesome thing: instead of lecturing and telling the team what they should do he gave us information and split us into topic groups, each of them to prepare a slide deck on their particular subject. And know what? The team just loved it!

Soon after two intense days allocated to learning and exercising we took the knowledge to practice. Chicago Electric Boat Company website with custom reservation system was the first product to be built under Agile. We not only tried what we’ve learned about Agile as a management framework, but also implemented Agile software development practices, such as scrum, extreme programming, TDD, BDD and other. That’s when wonders started to happen. Apparently, we weren’t adept Agile practitioners back then, but, despite that, most of the issues we used to struggle with either were gone, or have become way easier to handle.


Later on, we applied Agile in all its glory to build Player’s Health, a complex Web & mobile startup for athletic injury management. What fruits have we been reaping since! It’s been popular among investors from the very beginning. It has already developed a partnership with USA Wrestling, and could soon be ubiquitous in all middle and high school sports. Not to speak of how happy the founder was as the app was selected to pitch at ‪Google Demo Day 2016 and, finally, won it! Despite Player’s Health is our most loved creation there’s a bunch of other startups that have been developed under Agile such as Bunker In A Box, Open House Hub, and more.

Through the couple of years, Agile proved excellent for our team, products and clients. It’s not that easy to keep up with the methodology as it seems, but it’s clearly worth all efforts. Once we’ve learned that, we’re not going to abandon the methodology. Well, not earlier than something better comes up.

Got a ground-breaking website or mobile app idea?

Let's make it real!

Rate this article
Average rating: 5, 6 votes
Similar Articles
November 23, 2015Startup strategies

How To Treat Talented Employees

​One day entrepreneurs becomes employers. The luckiest of them are those who managed to attract the most talented employees. But one day, when they realize what treasure is in their hands, they find out they don’t know what to do with it to make a good use of it and, at the same time, keep it.

December 29, 2015Startup strategies

4 Awesome Books on Entrepreneurship and Startups

There is always something to learn. And sometimes reading articles on the Internet is just not enough.

December 18, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

Feeling No Progress In Life And Work? Time To Look Around.

Being an entrepreneur means doing things that may seem weird, or at least unworthy to the majority. Even if you’ve found enough courage for the first step you still might end up feeling stuck, low in energy and unable to make any further progress - thanks to these people.

November 11, 2016Tech behind startups

Which Tool Is Best For Cross Browser And Cross Device Testing?

Know which online tool we called the best to test websites on different browsers, mobile devices and screen resolutions after we’ve tried Browsershots, Browser Sandbox, BrowserStack, CrossBrowserTesting, Litmus, Sauce Labs and 6 more alternatives to manual testing.

December 29, 2015Devvela insights

What Youth Athletes Have In Common With Boats

​2015 is closing in and we would like to take a look back at it. At Devvela, we have worked on several projects over the year, but two of them are especially close to our hearts.

November 25, 2015Digital comedy

The Parable About Laziness and Programming

Great story about a build engineer as smart as lazy.

July 26, 2017Devvela insights

Devvela landed in Chicago's Top Mobile Developers of the Year

Clutch, a research company in Washington, DC, placed Devvela high in the top rank of mobile developers.

March 29, 2018Devvela insights

Hacking Instagram Algorithm with Post Scheduling

The Instagram algorithm can seem annoying but businesses have to learn to be friends with it. Scheduling posts can help achieve consistency, which is important if you want to boost engagement and grow your following. Let’s take a look at some scheduling tools that will help you hack the Instagram algorithm.

November 19, 2015Startup strategies

3 Reasons Not to Implement the Strategy of Being the Cheapest

There is a widespread belief that when starting a new business you have to offer goods or services at a lower price than your competitors do if you want to carve out your niche and build up your customer base. This belief does have some basis in truth and might really work in some cases. Yet there are three things to consider before taking this road.

November 19, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

​Why Business Should NOT Be Priority ONE If You Want To Succeed as an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is often a struggle and it means going beyond one’s limits and pushing one’s boundaries. This is exactly what makes it similar to the physical exercise, and that's why exercising should be granted place in your list of priorities close to business. Bruce Lee, instructor, philosopher, film director and founder of his own style of martial art once said, ‘If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them’. It’s clear to most of us, but when ardent entrepreneurs have to choose between exercise and work they tend to put the latter forward thinking. Here are some seemingly obvious yet crucial arguments that speak against this decision.

November 26, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

10 Inspirational Quotes About Successful Startups and Business Values

Leading entrepreneurs talking about where amazing ideas come from and values behind successful startups.

November 30, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

What If I Just Lack Talent?

From time to time we all experience this kind of frustration when we’re asking ourselves: do I simply lack ta​lent to get to the next level? If you find yourself in such situation it’s no reason to throw in the towel. Of course, most of us aren’t born geniuses, neither are all people we see as successful. Actually, you don’t have to be ‘the chosen one to succeed.

December 03, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

13 Tips To Overcome Fear Of Public Speaking And Develop The King’s Speech

Ever heard of glossophobia? You may not know what the term stands for, but it doesn’t mean you have never experienced the feeling. Glossophobia is a common fear of public speaking a.k.a. “stage fright”. Most studies show that it has its place in the top 5 fears, and 3 out of every 4 people fear public speaking.

December 07, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

Procrastination: A Guide To Better Understanding

​Caught yourself putting off important tasks in favor of cute kitties pictures on the Internet or scrolling down the newsfeed again? Welcome to the i-will-do-it-later’s club, the place where personal development dies! We surfed the Web to find out if being a procrastinator is actually so bad and if it is, how we can cope with it.

December 07, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

13 Tips For Procrastination Treatment

We collected seemingly most efficient practices for beating procrastination suggested by different authors.

December 11, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

Fight With The Couch, or How To Stay Productive After Work

Even if you aren’t involved into your own private business after work, you might like being able to spend your so-called free time wisely. We browsed the Web and read through forums to find out what experts suggest and what people actually do to stay productive after work. Here is what we have learned.

December 21, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

How To Deal With People Who Undermine You

Whatever you do there will always be people who will be trying to undermine your self-belief. Here are 6 things that you might like to try to diminish their negative influence.

December 21, 2015Startup strategies

Startups That Failed In 2015

​90% of all startups fail. In 2015, we’ve seen the end of seemingly very promising online businesses. Let’s take another look at them and try to understand why they failed.

December 24, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

7 Tips to Cut Fear of Failure

Fear is one of the most common forces that prevent us from success. More specifically, fear of failure has power to immobilize us, to make us feel helpless and useless. But to move forward, one has to learn being able to do things despite it (getting rid of the fear completely is neither required nor helpful).

December 24, 2015Lifestyle & mindset

How To Stay Persistent

How many times have you heard that it’s important to stay persistent if you want to achieve great goals? Indeed, occasional success might bring opportunities, but it won’t bring you millions. Yet keeping on track is often easier said than done. We did a little research on the topic and came to the following tips.

March 18, 2016Startup strategies

13 Signs Of A Failing Startup

If your startup lasts longer than it should, it's burning a big deal of time, money, skill and talent which could certainly be more useful when working on a real big thing. These 13 signs will help you to determine whether to stay persistent or put your business to bed.

March 25, 2016Lifestyle & mindset

Top Entrepreneurs Share On How They Manage Stress

Every startup founder is put under a lot of pressure daily. Yet top entrepreneurs have found their ways to stay calm and in control at times of stress. Some of them are even sharing their secrets with others gladly. Here’s what they say.

January 24, 2018Tech behind startups

Creating a Chatbot for Your Business: Why and How

Unsure if you should create a chatbot for your business or not? This guide on chatbots sums up all you need to know before you start building your own bot

February 21, 2018Tech behind startups

Blockchain Technology Explained In Simple Language

Blockchain technology, smart contracts, cryptocurrency, other blockchain use cases... does this sound intimidating to you? If your answer is yes, you’re in the right place. Here’s the blockchain explanation you’ve been looking for — simple and clear. No kidding — see for yourself.

December 12, 2016Devvela insights

Devvela Bursts Into the Chicago's Top App Developers

Top app idea deserves being executed by top app developers. Clutch has recently named Devvela as one of the top app development agencies in Chicago, and here’s why.

January 13, 2017Devvela insights

Devvela Improves Elders Care Experience with Canary Notes App

Devvela's last App Store release in 2016 aims to solve the problem of communication between caregivers and elders' loved ones.

January 23, 2017Devvela insights

Shy Yet Curious? You Might Love TownSquare App Released Recently by Devvela

Devvela starts 2017 with a Google Play release. TownSquare, the new Android app released on iTunes soon after, enables connections that never could have happened before.

May 12, 2017Devvela insights

VoteSphere - Your GPS for A Complex Political World Built by Devvela

Amidst all the political uncertainty the world has been facing recently, Devvela is especially proud to present this new app that will help you navigate the sea of politics. Create your political portrait with VoteSphere, share it and see others’ spheres.

May 30, 2017Devvela insights

Make the most of Slack with Message.Pro Bot Built by Devvela

We keep on telling about Devvela's latest releases. This time this is neither website, nor mobile app. Meet Message.Pro the slack bot!

February 12, 2018Devvela insights

Play to live, live to win with a new Exantra World RPG Fitness game

Meet Exantra World - a new RPG fitness game that will change your fitness and gaming experience forever.

Enough wasting your time, let’s
Get in touch