Agile Application LifeCycle Management – A Travel Case Study

We were all very excited to hear one of our customers, Max Rayner, speak at the recent ALM Expo on how he and his team built and delivered the www.fly.com system using an agile approach. If you’re not familiar with it, this is an internet application that’s openly available and was built using Agile methodologies, SCRUM techniques and an Agile ALM toolset.

MAX_RAYNER_s.jpgMax is the CTO of Travelzoo – a travel publisher with 18 million subscribers and fly.com is an online app that helps you find the exact match to your air travel needs. During the webcast Max discussed the problem space, their agile approach, the innovative metasearch engine, how they managed a distributed team, challenges, key learnings and reasons for their success.travelzoo agile approach.jpgWith all that said, I can’t really do the webcast justice in this blog as there was SO much great information shared – but you can:

1) download the webcast presentation slides.pdf and listen to the podcast

2) view the full recording of the webcast here (unfortunately, you will need to register but its free and painless.)

3) or, you can download the podcast of the presentation here and listen in your own time.

BTW, the recordings include a great Q&A session that I would highly recommend listening to!  Here are some stats Max shared on the fly.com agile project:

Duration

  • Expected: 28 weeks  Actual: 32 weeks
  • Number of Sprints: 14 (including a tuning sprint,) Number of Demos: 12
  • 250 change requests (using Agile Platform Embedded Change Technology)
  • 4 week tuning sprint & 4 versions released during tuning

The Team

  • Business Sponsor: Chief Technology Officer
  • 1 Engagement Manager, 1 Delivery Manager, 3-5 Developers & 1 QA
  • 7 Key Users

Technology

  • OutSystems Agile Platform used for: requirements gathering, design, integration, component assembly, version control & configuration management, deployment & performance management
  • Over 20 integrations w/ databases, third party systems etc
  • .NET environment.

I believe this case study to be a great testament to the Agile development approach; the project achievements speak for themselves:

1. Fly.com is able to handle a sustained load of 40,000 searches per hour with 99.8% availability

2. Fly.com functionality delivered with less cost & faster than competitive solutions

3. 6 months to deliver working system that was stress tested, and then new features added to meet & beat the competition

4. Less than 1 year to develop & release what competitors had taken 2+ years to achieve

5. Compares prices from hundreds of airlines & online travel sites with just one user search.  Integration of 12+ distinct information providers in real-time, aggregating all the data received, stored & made available asynchronously

6. Links to hundreds of external sites with over 30 types of parameter formatting & integration methods.

What were your major take-away’s’ from Max’s webcast?  Have you come across other case studies of major applications that have been built with Agile methods?  Are these Agile case studies useful to you and should we publish more here?

About the author

Mike Jones

Mike is a professed 'hater' of complexity. He has been in the IT industry since the mid 80's where he learned his technical skills at EDS and Texas Instruments. He believes there is a simpler way for IT professionals to deliver business value that requires a pragmatic mix of agile methods and application development tools.

Comments

Michel

I’ve been seeing a lot of discussions around the ability to deliver complex solutions using and agile approach, and this is living proof that “yes you can!”
Another subject that is frequently debated is the use of geographically dispersed teams in agile projects. From I what I know about this project, the team was divided in two regions with an 8h time-zone difference. Again, this proves that agile projects with dispersed teams are possible and can be very successful.

Hugo Veiga

Before using Agile Methodologies I thought it was just a buzz word. But after seeing it in practice it’s amazing how the project gets a dynamic of it’s own where important thing gets done and everyone contributes for the goals at hand. Can’t see myself going back to old methodologies.

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