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ITSS Enhances Application Design and Development Capability

August 15, 2016

New methods will provide the campus improved products and support.

The ITSS development team has a long history of providing application design and development services to fulfill our customers specific business needs. To meet the increasingly demanding requirements of the campus, ITSS is taking steps to enhance its software design and development capability.

Agile Software Development Scrum Practice

Agile software development is a widely adopted software development methodology focusing more on adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement. ITSS is practicing scrum to achieve this. Under this practice, for each project we will have a scrum master to coordinate the efforts among developers, product owners, and stakeholders. Our customers should expect a lot more interactions with the development team. Product owners will have substantial control and significant impact on the products. The development team will have a short stand up each day to review the backlog, prioritize working items, synchronize the development efforts, and clean up any blockers. At the end of each sprint (normally a sprint takes 2 to 3 weeks), customers will gather together with the development team to review the finished work from the past sprint and provide input. Hence, our customers will have the opportunity to have those most critical modules/features developed and delivered first and get exactly what they want. With this methodology, in terms of development costs, our customers can only expect a broader range vs. an accurate upfront number with traditional software development practices.

Mobile Application

Mobile applications have greatly increased an application's availability by removing location limitations. One example is UMD library's group study room application. Now students can check study room availability and reserve a room on their smart devices anywhere. This application represents our recent endeavor in enhancing its application design and development capability to serve the campus better.

The above mentioned mobile application is made possible by a technology called 'responsive design' in that a server will adapt the application rendering to detected client device types and resolutions. Sometimes mobile applications have the need to access functions/features native to a mobile device such as GPS devices and cameras. These applications need to be written in a mobile device native language and usually takes more effort and hence are more costly. ITSS development has the capability to do both.

Ongoing Application Support

ITSS is also enhancing its application support by formalizing the application maintenance process. Ongoing maintenance is a major part of an application's life cycle and involves many areas such as application status monitoring, access control, data security, and bug and change request management. ITSS is revisiting these areas and trying to establish a formal process to make the process more secure and convenient. A minor charge might be imposed to make this happen.

If you have any needs or questions about application design and development, please contact ITSS at itsshelp@d.umn.edu or call ITSS help desk at 8847.

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