Agile Software: Fan Appreciation Day

By Joshua Weinberger Print this article Print

Dossier: Agile is a hot item in the electronics industry and prides itself on good word-of-mouth, ease-of-use, and a self-supporting user community.

There's nothing quite like a fervent fan base to compensate for small market share. While Agile's tools are notably light on the design side, the company has a reputation in the electronics industry few can match. Especially popular among start-ups and in the Bay Area, Agile prides itself on good word-of-mouth, ease-of-use, and a self-supporting user community. PDF Download

At PDA maker Handspring, for example, where many of the first employees were familiar with Agile from their days at 3Com, Document Service Manager Jim Macfarlane is among the die-hard Agile devotees. By spring, he'll be on Agile 8.5, an upgrade that requires stepping up from a Windows NT server to one running Windows 2000.

Colleen Walford, engineering data management director for storage company Iomega, was not overly concerned with Agile's small size. Iomega conducted a thorough review of competing products, and decided not only to stay with Agile, but to upgrade from 6.0 to 8.5, mainly on the strength of the firm's integration and 8.5's improved architecture. Walford also was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Agile's key account reps—many of whom, she notes, have engineering degrees and backgrounds, and all of whom "have been knowledgeable and willing to share information on how other companies are setting up their processes on Agile."

Avocent, a maker of KVM switches, uses Agile for everything from bills of materials through end-of-life (though some functions, such as costing, are still outside the Agile system). Senior manager Dan Bidwell says Agile dropped support on version 6 without much notice, forcing him to upgrade to 8.5. No matter—nothing compares to the software's simplicity, he says, or the vendor's overall handling of his account. Other users are similarly pleased to be spared the headache of configuring.

Agile's move to a named-user structure is a concern—legacy users have had some wiggle room, but those days are numbered, and new users will have no choice at all.

This article was originally published on 2003-01-17
Assistant Editor
After being on staff at The New Yorker for five years, Josh later traveled the world, hitting all seven continents in a single year. At Yale University, he majored in American Studies, English, and Theatre Studies.

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