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Library competes thanks to agile development outsourcing

Thor Olavsrud | April 2, 2013
One of the nation's largest circulating libraries, the King County Library System, turns to agile development outsourcing to take on commercial rivals such as Apple and Amazon.

Catalyst also uses analytics to compile developer teams that will fit culturally with their clients. "KCLS, for example, is not a very technical audience. They may be nervous, skeptical. So we want people who can communicate in a way that's nonthreatening and enables the group to buy in," Rosenbaum says. "That's different than if we're working with a venture capital-based technology company."

Still the outsourcing transition at KCLS, which began last summer, took time. "We had a big, goopy system that's undocumented," says Moffitt. "But Catalyst has teased out how it works to fix the bugs, get pieces of functionality done, and start down a list of soup-to-nuts design features."

The initial two-weeks sprints Catalyst planned stretched out longer, but today fixes and features come every Tuesday. "That's unheard of in library technology," says Moffitt.


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