Evant Solutions, provider of a back-office application that supports planning and forecasting, inventory management, and decision support for e-businesses, has adopted a new programming approach designed to bring greater efficiency, speed and quality to the software development process. The approach, Extreme Programming (XP), is specifically tailored for applications that serve dynamic e-business environments.
Delivered and supported through an ASP business model, the Evant solution enables B2B companies to integrate and manage a full range of merchandising functions, including inventory planning and forecasting, purchasing, pricing, and decision support. Evants suite of applications supports the specific supply chain needs of online businesses, while complementing front office and fulfillment solutions already in place.
XP was created as a means for programmers to streamline and simplify the development process. The methodology encourages regular communication between development teams and their customers and requires that developers maintain constant quality control through repeated testing. Progress on XP projects is highly incremental and customer feedback during every stage of the process ensures that changes can be integrated into the software source code quickly and easily.
Testing also helps Evant developers respond to the unexpected. Since ongoing tests ensure the stability of a softwares source code, changes can be integrated with a minimal amount of troubleshooting. This kind of flexibility enables us to continually meet our customers needs, regardless of the level of complexity, according to Rob Mee, director of engineering for Evant.
Another important aspect of XP is pair programming. Pair programming requires that developers pair up, two to a workstation. As a means of fostering a collaborative and problem-solving dialogue between programmers, the practice is believed to significantly increase productivity. We start a new iteration every three weeks, says Mee. At the end of three weeks were actually delivering a functioning piece of software to the customer, so the ability to complete programming tasks as efficiently as possible is crucial. Pair programming helps us do that.