Is there any demand for Agile Localization?

Hi guys, this week I want to tell you what I have been up to for the past couple of weeks. I have written about it as it is always easier to see new ideas in a better light once they are written down. The purpose of this particular post is to invite you to a discussion about Agile Localization.

I have previously mentioned that I started with Agile some years ago, around 2007. Few years onwards while working for one of my previous employers I became responsible for improving the localization process for several products. At the time the localization for those products was done the traditional way – at the end of the product development process towards the end of the project. My role here was to change the traditional approach in-line with the Agile approach so that the product deliverables of each iteration would be localized. The initiative was a success and we were able to have product deliverables of each iteration localized in 87 different languages. After some years of working with Agile I decided to share all the knowledge I acquired during those years with other Agile developers out there, so I started the “Agile Localization” project.

I started writing a book on the subject thinking that it would be something I do in my spare time, but feedback I received from several friends and colleagues made me believe that my interest in Agile localization could lead to something more than just a book. Such as, a consultant might consider writing a book in order to have a successful career in consultancy. Together with two other colleagues we started a consulting company “Oikosofy”. The website mentions several innovation and Agile services that we offer, but there isn’t a mention of Agile localization there.

However, I think Oikosofy could offer Agile localization as a service to localization vendors to be offered to their customers. At least this is what I had in mind when I had a “sales call” from one of the vendors. But it seems the guy did not understand me, rather, as one of my business partners puts it: the problem is not with the listener but with the messenger. I believe, I did not explain myself well enough. So, I take this opportunity to explain my idea in order to see how you like it. Let’s say in this post I present my MVP(Minimal Viable Product) and I would like your opinion on whether there is a demand for this service out there.

The idea behind this service is to help companies sync their localization with their Agile development, so that the deliverables for each iteration would be localized. Of course, to make this possible a team must be already working in Agile and if they are not working in Agile yet, they can always contact us for help with the transition to Agile :). But coming back to the topic, this would be a service designed for teams that are working already in Agile yet still treat localization as something to be done outside the Agile process, at the end of the entire product development process. So our role would be to coach the team while working together with them and helping them adopt Agile localization practices so that they could have their product deliverables localised for each iteration.

This service would be offered as a partnership with the localization vendors who would take care of the localization of the product and we would be working together with the customer changing their way of doing localization. This would help the localization vendors because it would improve their collaboration with the customers taking it to a new level. Instead of receiving a huge amount of strings at the end of a development project they would be able to deliver small batches of translated strings for each iteration. This would be also beneficial for the customer because it would allow the customer to have the deliverables of each iteration in all the languages they require. Another advantage here is that the feedback loop would be scaled down, too, which means the customer together with the localization vendor can timely fix any problems with the localization thus improving the quality of the product and reducing its time to market.

So this would be one of the Oikosofy services in a nutshell – Agile Localization :). This is my idea of how Agile localisation could be developed into a service and I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Do you think there is a need for such service? Do you think Localization deserves to be a special service for Agile development, what would be pros and cons of it?

Thank you so much for your most valuable input that will help us a lot in developing further the Agile community!

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Is there any demand for Agile Localization?
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  1. Reply

    I was just wondering, to me this seems like agile testing…It should be done in the team.
    Doesn’t this come into contradiction with the idea of not having separate departments, silos ? Shouldn’t the development teams be fully involved and capable of delivering a product to the customer?

    • Reply

      Hi Lucian :) Localization is a bit tricky :) How can a team alone by themselves deliver a product in 87 languages for example like we did in NOkia? :) Do you want to have 87 testers inside of the team? :) :)

      • Reply

        In that context it also makes sense for me ..

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