A Modified Agile Methodology for an ERP Academic Project Development
New Achievements in Technology Education and Development
Introduction The economy and market globalization have forced all kind of enterprises (large, small and medium enterprises, SME) to compete against their counterparts from other countries, reaching high competence levels. This fact exposes a clear and essential need to be continuously improving business processes for reaching high levels of competitiveness. Regarding information management, Information Systems (IS) have responded to the increasing necessity of organizations to improve their
... bilities to process and manage data. This need arises because the capability of providing the right information at the right time brings tremendous rewards to those organizations (Hossain et al., 2002) . In that kind of competitive market, both big and SMEs need information systems for tackling the direct rival pressing, keeping their position in the market (Valor et al., 2007) while improving competitiveness by cost reduction and better logistics. Due to this situation, a SME from la Comunidad Valenciana (Spain) called Chair's Collection S.L. (CC), contacted our university, Universidad CEU-Cardenal Herrera, in order to establish a collaboration deal consisting in the creation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Being a great opportunity, the University suggested the Company that it should consider the ERP as a final degree project for a last academic year student, which was accepted. Assuming the way the collaboration deal was going to be carried, it was necessary to plan how to face the project. It was clear that a traditional software development approach wouldn't imply the programming features and flexibility needed. Considering the project as a final degree project, there was a variable amount of time available for developing the project (between 10 and 12 months at least), so a methodology which allowed to change requirements and software features without a high effort and time cost was needed. Agile methodologies were quickly taken into account. These kinds of methodologies are people-centred (allowing the student guide and support and the customer attention and care). They give more importance to software over documentation (allowing us to develop a real project to be used after the final degree project handing in) and respond to change over following a plan (which met one of our first needs: the change acceptance) (Beck et al., 2001) . Among all the existing agile methodologies, the 6 www.intechopen.com New Achievements in Technology, Education and Development 90 eXtreme Programming (XP) was the chosen one. This choice was taken because XP is made up of easy practices that any student can understand and because it can be easily modelled. It was also clear that the strict execution of the practices and principles of the XP methodology wouldn't be enough: although that kind of methodology was needed, the real situation was special and couldn't meet all the XP requirements. So it was decided to tailor that XP methodology to the specific situation: roles were distributed, practices and processes modified and an adapted agile methodology, which finally met the minimum situation requirements, was designed. The result of following the tailored XP methodology was a high modular ERP comprehending all the enterprise areas. However and in spite of being a functional ERP with a perfect task execution, the company didn't use all of its potential, leaving some modules unused, or used them with some constraints. In this chapter we will try to explain the reasons why this happened. The present chapter begins with a theoretic presentation about Information systems and SME and about Information Systems and Agile Methodologies (Section 2 and 3 respectively). After this, in section 4, the project and the tailored methodology will be explained in detail. In section 5, the results of the project will be shown. Finally, a conclusion section will bring up the mistakes in the student attitude as well as in the methodology exposition, and the lessons learned.