Ever since Black Pepper was founded over 21 years ago, one of our key tenets has always been working in an agile way.
We’ve found that by putting people at the core of everything we do, we are able to provide value to our customers quickly and improve based on constant communication and feedback.
This is how we ensure quality in the software we create.
And in the course of producing high-quality software, we realised we could help others achieve this too. By sharing our best-of-breed methods and techniques, enabling cultural shift and showing how agile can be used in the real world, we empower others to reap the benefits.
What are the business benefits of Agile?
Historically, waterfall projects have always had three major stages:
• Extensive planning - a very detailed phase often taking several months
• Building - in which you follow the software development plan to the letter
• Testing of the end product
In theory, this can sound appealing because everything is well defined, but in practice, it can fall down. Projects built around waterfall methodologies don’t easily accommodate the realities of change in the business world. Budgets get tuned, forecasts are flexed, deadlines reset and your needs evolve to keep up with the changing world around you.
The fact that waterfall methods embrace sign-off mechanisms in each phase to actively avoid changes means development and direction of each project is very rigid, and in turn, can ultimately lead to an end result that doesn’t quite meet your needs.
Here, at Black Pepper Software, we expect and embrace changes. We believe that once a project begins, we quickly gain greater insight into what our client actually needs. This continual learning is fed seamlessly into our build cycle and the end result can sometimes look quite different from the original plan.
This approach is vital because during the project our client will have a solution to the organically evolving business problem. We also test rigorously and continually using automated techniques to ensure that any new line of code doesn’t tamper with the integrity of any previous written functions. All this means our software builds are extremely reliable.
Agile software development allows us to be flexible and integrate change because we plan, build and test in small increments ensuring that each of the components we build is complete in its own right.
The net result is that each component offers business value and guarantees the solution flexes to our client’s needs. Our clients receive regular drops of tested code which add immediate value by lowering project failure risks and increasing the ROI potential.
So how do we do it?
Each one of our clients is unique, so the agile training we offer is tailored to your current situation and vision. This can range from standalone workshops to teach your team about agile tools and ceremonies, to placing a handful of our 40 experts within your team to help deliver live projects using real-world agile techniques.
Most importantly, we ensure your teams are equipped with everything they need to continue improving after we’re gone.
Want to see some evidence? Here are three examples where Black Pepper’s training helped clients move faster and produce a higher-quality product.
Bravissimo and Black Pepper collaborated on a short project to support them in the delivery of their completely re-architected web platform. The pair of Black Pepper developers worked with Bravissimo's in-house team to assist in the development, particularly around test-driven agile software practices, an area in which Bravissimo were keen to learn.
Read the full case study here.
Black Pepper engaged with British Gymnastics to develop a membership portal to support the massive number of annual renewals. Alongside providing technical implementation, the team worked closely with a number of British Gymnastics staff to improve their understanding of agile and lead the overall project in an agile way.
Read the full case study here.
Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)
As a long-term partner of LGIM, Black Pepper have been involved in a number of projects with the blue-chip organisation. Over the course of our engagement, we’ve helped a wide range of teams adopt agile practices by running training events, facilitating story mapping workshops and through one-to-one mentoring. Each activity was tailored to the specific area LGIM wanted to improve. As a result, these activities have had a wide and long-lasting impact on their digital transformation, providing the team with knowledge and insight to build on independently.
Find an example of what we’ve helped LGIM achieve here.
The Black Pepper team are conscientious, professional and clearly know technology. They are not just code monkeys, they are true technologists. Teaching our internal team how to use an agile test based software development approach added real value to us internally. We have already begun planning our next project with Black Pepper and would happily recommend them to other high street retailers.
After Black Pepper’s bespoke training, customers have experienced a whole host of benefits, including faster return on investment, reduced risk and improved customer satisfaction. Most importantly, our customers end up with the software they need, instead of the software they imagined they needed.
How can we help you become more agile?