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Agile Software Development: A Key To Innovative Digital Solutions In Tanzania

Agile Software Development: A Key To Innovative Digital Solutions In Tanzania

By Bryson  |  May 09, 2023

In this article ,I will be covering the implementation as well as the benefits of using agile methodology, instead of other methodologies used, when implementing your software projects.

I will share our experience with agile methodology,from how iPF Softwares implements it to the positive outcomes that come along with it.

Since 2016, iPF Softwares has adopted agile methodology in most software projects to name a few Chomoka Platform with Care International, Niajiri Platform, Innovation Ecosystem Map with HDIF and COSTECH,

Stakeholder Grievance and management portal with the World Bank  and many others.

Each of these projects has been a success, a reason why we are eager to share with you these eye opening insights on Agile methodology.

iPF Softwares' success with these projects, and others, led to its recognition as the best software company in Tanzania for 2021 at the Tanzania Annual ICT Conference 2021 (TAIC2021).

Additionally, it has been named twice as a top Clutch firm based in Tanzania.

iPF Softwares Award as the Best Software Development Company In TanzaniaiPF Softwares Award as the Best Software Development Company In Tanzania

Generally in this article I will introduce to you agile methodology as used in softwares development and,

How you can adapt this approach to your software projects, with the goal of designing and developing high-quality digital solutions that can easily succeed in the African market and beyond.

Specifically I will got through explaining;

  • What is agile methodology ?
  • Why should you adopt agile methodology in your next project ?
  • 4 values of agile that will make sure you are on the right path.
  • 12 principles of agile that will transform your team.
  • Examples of our top-notch agile projects illustrating how we implemented agile methodology.

Let’s now get started

What Is Agile Methodology In Software Development

Agile Methodology in software development is a flexible, iterative approach that emphasizes collaboration, working software, and responding to change. 

As its definition highlights, agile methodology is characterized by 

  • Accepting changes that occur along the way
  • Delivering the product in small increments rather than a whole, 
  • Costant collaboration among the development team members as well as the end user from start to the end.
Agile Methodology Vs WaterfallAgile Methodology Vs Waterfall

To easily understand Agile methodology I will explain it with examples and comparison with another well-known methodology, Waterfall as shown in the diagram above. 

Waterfall methodology is a linear, sequential approach where each phase of the development cycle must be completed before moving on to the next. 

This means that each phase must be planned and executed in advance, without much flexibility for changes or feedback. 

On the other hand, agile is an iterative, collaborative approach where development is broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks that can be tested, reviewed and adjusted throughout the process. 

The Agile Manifesto

In 2001 ,a group of software developers who were frustrated with the traditional approach of  software development came together to create what we now call the agile manifesto,

This came after experiencing a number of failed projects.

The Agile Manifesto is a set of guiding values and principles for developing software and managing projects in a more flexible and collaborative way. 

The Agile Manifesto lays out four values and twelve principles that guide this approach to software development .

Most importantly all techniques and frameworks used in agile should share these values to be considered Agile.

Agile valuesAgile values

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools:

The first value of Agile methodology emphasizes "individuals and interactions over processes and tools."

This means that the people involved in the development process, including the customer, are considered more important than the tools and processes being used.

This value recognizes that people are the most important part of any project, and that good communication between team members is crucial for success. 

Even if you have the best tools and processes in the world, they won't be effective if the people using them don't communicate well or work together effectively.

In Agile, the focus is on building a collaborative and supportive environment that fosters communication and teamwork, allowing team members to work together seamlessly towards a shared goal.

Working software over comprehensive documentation:

The second Agile value, “ working software over comprehensive documentation “ emphasizes the focus is on delivering functional software that meets customer needs, rather than producing extensive documentation.

This value recognizes that documentation is important, but it shouldn't be the main focus. Instead, the primary goal should be to create a working product that meets the customer's needs.

However, it's important to note that Agile doesn't completely disregard documentation. Instead, it suggests that documentation should be balanced with the development of a working solution.


Customer collaboration over contract negotiation:

The third Agile value, "customer collaboration over contract negotiation," prioritizes the involvement of the customer in the development process.

The customer is viewed as an active participant who collaborates with the team in defining and prioritizing requirements.

This value recognizes that customer needs can change over time, and that working collaboratively with them throughout the development process, can lead to a better product that meets their needs. 

In contrast, the traditional approach of negotiating a contract with the customer first and then following it strictly may not be flexible enough to accommodate changes in customer needs. 

 By emphasizing customer collaboration, Agile aims to ensure that the final product meets the customer's expectations and provides maximum value to them.

Responding to change over following a plan:

The fourth Agile value, "responding to change over following a plan," highlights the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the development process.

Agile methodology is designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing teams to respond quickly to changing customer and stakeholder needs.This value recognizes that change is inevitable, and that being able to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial for success. 

Instead of creating a rigid plan first and sticking to it no matter what.Agile emphasizes the importance of being flexible and adjusting plans as needed based on feedback and changing requirements.

Agile teams are encouraged to welcome change and view it as an opportunity to improve their product. 

By prioritizing responsiveness to change over following a plan, Agile development can help teams create better, more effective solutions that meet the evolving needs of their customers

Case Study : UNCDF’s Pesa Tech Accelerator, Agile Methodology Training by iPF Softwares

During the UNCDF’s Pesa Tech accelerator Technical Bootcamp, one of  founding partnersMr. Grayson, posed a thought-provoking question to the startup founders:

He asked: "If you were told to choose just one agile value to keep, which one would you choose and why?"

Consider this question: If you were told to choose just one agile value to keep, which one would you choose and why?  

Take a moment to think about it, and consider which value holds the most significance for you in your project.

(Ivana Damjanov | Country Lead, Tanzania, Inclusive Digital Economies at UNCDF Photo Captured During the Pesa Tech Accelerator Agile Training  to Startups by iPF Softwares)(Ivana Damjanov | Country Lead, Tanzania, Inclusive Digital Economies at UNCDF Photo Captured During the Pesa Tech Accelerator Agile Training to Startups by iPF Softwares)

12 Fundamental Principles Of Agile 

  1. Customer satisfaction is key - The most important thing in Agile is to keep your customers happy by delivering value to them as early and as often as possible.
  2. Be open to change - Agile is all about being flexible and adapting to changes as they happen. Don't be afraid to make changes to your plan if it will improve the final product.
  3. Deliver frequently - Agile projects are broken down into smaller chunks of work called sprints, which usually last 1-4 weeks.
  4. Work together as a team - Collaboration is a cornerstone of Agile. Everyone on the team, from developers to business people, works together to achieve a common goal.
  5. Motivate your team - Give your team the support they need to do their job well. Trust them to get the job done and give them a positive work environment.
  6. Communication is key - In Agile, face-to-face communication is the most effective way to convey information between team members.
  7. Measure progress with working software - The primary measure of progress in Agile is working software. If it doesn't work, it's not progress.
  8. Sustainable development - Agile is about finding a sustainable pace that allows the team to work at a constant pace without burning out.
  9. Technical excellence is a priority - Quality is important in Agile, and technical excellence is a key component of delivering a high-quality product.
  10. Simplicity is key - Keep things simple in Agile. Don't add unnecessary complexity that can slow down the development process.
  11. Self-organizing teams - Agile teams are self-organizing, meaning they have the ability  to decide how to best approach the work.
  12. Continuous improvement - Agile is about continuous improvement. At the end of each sprint, the team reflects on what they did well and what they could improve, and then adjusts their approach accordingly.

It's important to remember that while Agile is a great approach to software development, it's not perfect. 

It requires continuous improvement and adaptation to fit the needs of your team and project.

One of the assumptions of Agile is that skills are interchangeable, but that may not always be the case. 

It's important to understand that people communicate differently and have different strengths and weaknesses. This can be a big red flag in Agile if not addressed.

Hire iPF Softwares Agile Team for Maximum Return On Investment.

Reasons To Adopt Agile Methodology In Modern Software Development

The reason you need to adapt agile is because traditional project management doesn't always work for most of the projects.

The actual cause for this is because consumer requirements are always changing,they are never the same all along.

The figure above presents the amount of risk incurred in a project on using agile in comparison with waterfall.The figure above presents the amount of risk incurred in a project on using agile in comparison with waterfall.

Let's take an example ;  waterfall methodology, which some companies still use. 

It involves moving from analysis, design, implementation, testing to deployment stage by stage, and you only move to another stage only when the previous stage is complete. 

The most problems that arise with this methodology are:

  • Developers do not interact with the end user in the process of development ,they simply take requirements and deliver products. 
  • Hence no room for the changing requirements.
  • In  the end , the product has a high chance of not satisfying the end-users.
  • This leads to time wastage on features that have no market value.

When traditional software development approaches don't work, it can be frustrating and leave you feeling like your project is doomed to fail. 

But Agile methodology is the most suitable solution for this, It covers the shortcomings of the waterfall model.

Book A Free Meeting with our Agile Coaches Today 

iPF Softwares Journey towards Adopting Agile methodology

When we first started adapting agile, it was a bit chaotic. 

We later experimented with different agile frameworks, including  Kanban which we later realized it’s not fit for complex projects we have been working on, it was a bit difficult to keep up with deliverables. 

We eventually decided to switch to Scrum Framework, the most renowned agile methodology framework, after careful consideration.

Our project managers had to undergo Scrum certification training to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.

After obtaining the certification, we began to practice Scrum daily to master the framework and transferred the knowledge to the rest of our  team through our inhouse training program #HackITFriday. 

We adapted Scrum to specific projects, such as our initial undertakings Niajiri and Chomoka, and subsequently, many other projects followed suit.

Scrum Framework has been the best choice for us because it's simple to understand, has specific meetings that are easy to follow and a clear structure that suits our client culture.

We follow its principles and events closely , holding onto its key principles which are transparency, team adaptability, and performance.

Transparency has been one of the most significant benefits of Scrum. The team speaks directly

to the client, and we have clear backlogs, identify quality assurance (QA ) issues, and have sprint reviews and reciprocative meetings.

This approach has helped us identify issues quickly and efficiently, leading to faster problem-solving and improved client satisfaction.

Adapting to the Scrum framework was not without its challenges, but our Scrum master ensured that everyone aligned with the principles. 

Some of the difficulties we faced included resistance to change, reluctance to embrace a new methodology, and difficulty in prioritizing tasks. 

However, we overcame these challenges by providing adequate training to all team members, emphasizing the benefits of Scrum, and holding regular team meetings to ensure everyone was on board.  

To help foster a better understanding of Scrum, we organized a #HackitFriday session, which included a debate between Scrum and Kanban. 

During the session, we compared the two methodologies and discussed how Scrum could be customized to suit our specific needs. 

Ultimately, this session helped to improve team morale and led to a better adoption of Scrum across all our projects.

Key Considerations In Adopting Agile methodology in Software Development projects

Key considerations in Adopting Agile MethodologyKey considerations in Adopting Agile Methodology

The transformation to Agile methodology in software development  starts with people; stakeholders, end-users and the software development team.

And  the foundation to success to agile methodology in software development lies on having a solid understanding of agile principles and values. 

Let's take a closer look at what it takes to make Agile work:

1.Communication among team members.

Creating regular and effective communication culture, between end users ,the development team and stakeholders is one key consideration towards adapting agile.

2.Focussing on understanding the customer's needs.

This may involve gathering feedback from customers, analyzing their behaviors and preferences, and constantly adapting the product to better serve them.

3.Adapting Agile frameworks

Agile frameworks help you bring structure and flow to your projects. A good understanding of these frameworks and adopting one is key.

Discover the Top Agile Frameworks Used in Software Development

The following are the most common frameworks used.


In Scrum, a team collaborates to quickly develop and test a deliverable. 

The team meets regularly, and  uses a product Log to track feature implementation while working in sprints(short time periods 2-4 weeks). 

There are also Daily Standups and roles are clearly defined i:e Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development Team. 

The team's power comes from working together. They are free and open to support each other .

Master scrum 


Kanban is a simple approach that involves using a board with visual feedback to track tasks progress . The board has columns for To Do, In Progress, and Done. 

The team can add tasks, and work on top of the list task at a time.

Extreme Programming

Aims to improve product quality while  considering changing requirements. 

It involves testing parts of the product before building the whole and using simple design to meet important requirements. 

Clear and concise coding is crucial, as is testing and listening to customers to make sure everything is included.


Pair programming and continuous integration are the common practices. 

It emphasizes to avoid big design upfront and to write tests instead of requirements.


Lean is a philosophy and approach to business that seeks to maximize value while minimizing waste. 

One of the key aspects of Lean is defining the value that the customer wants, which involves understanding the customer's needs and requirements.

 Once the value is defined, the next step is mapping the value stream, which is the process that transforms raw materials into finished products. 

Creating flow is another important aspect of Lean, which involves designing a process that is smooth and continuous. When there are interruptions or delays in the process, it can lead to waste and inefficiency. 

Establishing pull is also a key aspect of Lean, This means that products are only produced when they are needed, which minimizes inventory and reduces waste.

Lastly, pursuing perfection, which involves a continuous effort to improve the process and eliminate waste. By constantly striving for perfection, the process becomes more efficient and effective over time.


Scrumban is a hybrid approach to project management that combines the principles of two popular methodologies:Scrum and Kanban.

Scrum is a framework for managing complex projects, where the team works in short cycles called sprints to deliver a product increment at the end of each sprint. 

Kanban, on the other hand, is a visual system for managing work in progress and optimizing the flow of work.

With Scrumban, the team starts by using the Scrum framework, working in sprints and following Scrum ceremonies such as daily standups and sprint retrospectives.

 However, as the team gains experience, they may choose to move away from the strict timeboxing of sprints and instead use a Kanban board to manage their work.

The Kanban board is a visual representation of the team's workflow, showing what tasks are in progress, what's been completed, and what's waiting to be started.

Agile frameworks comparisonAgile frameworks comparison

4.Encourage collaboration and transparency,

Encourage teamwork, open communication, and build a culture of trust. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve together.

5.Aligning management practices with agile methodology.

Adopting agile principles requires change in mindset,culture and organizational structure to promote flexibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

A Step By Step Guide In Adopting Agile Methodology 

You can use this step by step guide to slowly introduce agile methodology to your project.

Mind you it might be a bit difficult at first, but empathy, understanding and communication will put things in order.

  1. Start by assessing your organization's readiness for agile.Determine if the organization's structure, culture, and resources align with agile principles.Identify potential blockers to adopt agile.
  2. Educate the team on agile.Conduct training sessions, workshops, and seminars to ensure everyone understands the methodology.Explain agile principles, values, and practices.
  3. Choose the most suitable agile framework for the project.Identify which framework meets the team's needs and the project requirements.Popular frameworks include Scrum, Kanban, and Lean.
  4. Form cross-functional teams.Ensure that each team has the necessary skills and expertise to complete the project.Create teams consisting of members from different departments, such as developers, testers, and business analysts.
  5. Prioritize user needs.Identify and prioritize user needs based on business objectives, customer feedback, and other relevant data.Use this information to create a product backlog.
  6. Develop a project plan.Define the scope of the project and establish realistic timelines for delivering the product.Create a project plan that outlines the project goals, timelines, and objectives.
  7. Conduct regular team meetings.Hold daily standups, sprint planning meetings, sprint reviews, and retrospectives to facilitate collaboration, communication, and feedback.
  8. Deliver incrementally and iteratively.Deliver the product incrementally and iteratively, with each iteration adding value to the product and incorporating feedback from stakeholders.
  9. Monitor progress and adapt as necessary.Track metrics and adjust the project plan as necessary.Use data to optimize the team's performance and improve the product quality.
  10. Continuously improve.Encourage continuous improvement by regularly reviewing and evaluating the team's performance.Identify areas for improvement and implement changes to optimize the team's performance and deliver better products.

Get a ready set up team for your project.

Unlocking Success in African Projects: Real-life Examples of Agile Methodology in Action by iPF Softwares

iPF Softwares has achieved great success in software development projects in Africa by utilizing Agile methodology and the Scrum framework. 

Notably, the Niajiri Platform, Innovation Ecosystem Map by HDIF & COSTECH, and Chomoka Platform by Care International are exemplary case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. 

In this section, we will delve into these projects and examine how they exemplify the principles of Agile methodology in software development.

Niajiri Platform : From an idea to scaling digital solution in Africa

A  digital solution that offers employers a user-friendly platform that simplifies the process of finding and nurturing top talents in their industry. 

Niajiri Platform was among our early digital solutions that paved the way for adopting agile methodology.    

The project started with a waterfall model which later proved to be a challenge in scaling up the product, leading to the adoption of agile. 

We later adapted the Agile-Scrum Development methodology for this project .

Thanks to the dedicated work of our agile team,the Niajiri platform has now grown to  over 30,000 users across East Africa, a remarkable achievement that has been made possible by continuous improvements to the platform. by our dedicated agile team.

In recognition of its success, Niajiri Platform has received two prestigious awards from reputable organizations - the Outstanding Startup Award 2022 from TPSF and the Rising Star Girl ICT Startups Awards 2022 from ICT Commission.    

Read more on our Niajiri Platform case study : “ Digital Solution Development Journey from an Idea to a scaling product: Niajiri Platform Case Study .

Niajiri PlatformNiajiri Platform

Innovation Ecosystem Map : Mapping the Tanzania  Innovation Ecosystem With HDIF & COSTECH;

HDIF & COSTECH trusted us to design and develop an open-source and crowd sourced digital solution for mapping the Tanzania innovation ecosystem to improve collaboration among stakeholders.

We usually use Agile - Scrum framework for project execution, but this was not the case for this project;

HDIF team had already built the prototype the had most of things figured out and the entire project backlog was almost ready; 

For this reason, our senior project manager proposed we use Agile-Kanban Development methodology.

Which delivered an impacting solution .

Read more on our Innovate case study on how we developed an open source mapping platform for Tanzania’s ecosystem .

Innovation Ecosystem Map : Mapping the Tanzania  Innovation Ecosystem With HDIF & COSTECHInnovation Ecosystem Map : Mapping the Tanzania Innovation Ecosystem With HDIF & COSTECH

Chomoka Platform : Supporting women and informal savings groups with CARE International; 

Chomoka Platform, developed by iPF Softwares in collaboration with CARE International, is a digital solution that caters to the needs of savings groups, particularly women, by providing a secure and user-friendly way to access the digital economy. 

It’s main objective is to enhance financial monitoring and transparency, build credit history, and transition informal financial practices into formal inclusion.  

With the support of our proficient in-house agile team, we initiated the Chomoka project in 2017 by gathering primary requirements from Village Community Banks, followed by creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for the initial launch. 

We then collected user feedback and recommendations to improve the platform and subsequently, scaled it up to an international standard. 

As a result, Chomoka now operates in multiple countries including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, and Cote D'Ivoire.

As part of its success, Chomoka Platform has received several accolades, including the CARE USA Innovation Award in 2018 and the CGAP Digital Innovation Challenge in 2019. 

The platform's impact has also been recognized by the Mastercard Foundation, which selected Chomoka as one of the winners of the 2021 Innovation Competition, out of over 900 applicants. 

Chomoka Platform By Care International in Partnership with iPF SoftwaresChomoka Platform By Care International in Partnership with iPF Softwares

The key takeaway for you is that most of the success we have achieved in our projects are due to the customer-focused approach that is made possible by agile methodology from product development to customer service.

And this applies to all our projects, each project has its dedicated agile team that manages it.

Our biggest priority is  to consistently gather and analyze customer feedback, engage in market research, and continuously monitor and improve customer satisfaction. 


Adapting agile methodology in software development projects can be a game changer.

However, it requires aligning management practices with agile principles and continuously assessing and improving the implementation of the methodology. 

Agile methodology is effective when adopted in “the right way” that is  suitable for your team.

Are you still feeling stuck with Agile methodology?

Note this, agile digital solutions are indeed very effective and you certainly need to try one.!

Thinking about outsourcing your tech department ? Hire our Agile Team.


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