Agile Product Development as a small software development company?

How to get started developing a software product using Agile Methodology — my journey as a Product Owner for the AI Project Management Bot for Discord Jira integration

Anca Onuta
6 min readMay 22, 2020
Orli — AI Project Manager Discord Jira Integration

In the last ten years, I had the chance to work as a Program Manager and Agile Coach with tens of world-leading corporations, startups, inspirational product owners, successful business owners, and passionate teams. I love helping all of them create products people need and customer value as we call it in Agile.

I want to help them all, to work with everyone who’s got a great idea. But the reality is that I’m just one, and I can do that much in 24 hours.

It is how creating Orli — the AI Project Management Bot for Discord and Jira started. How might I help more small software development companies to develop better products faster? How might I help software development startups to meet their deadlines, be profitable, be agile?

This week, together with my technical partner, we started developing Orli using Agile Software development. I commit to sharing with you the journey of building a software product in an agile way and sharing our experience on the way. I’ll share the naked truth experience with best practices and failures.

If you want to follow our journey, follow me on Medium, and you’ll get updates when I post a new post. If you want to join the waiting list for our product, here is the subscription form.

Challenge 1: how you get started when you don’t have any buying customers?

There are +1000 ways of starting with the development of a product. I pitch for having a Sprint — the Google Methodology before investing in development. Learn more about it on:

But here is the thing, to get user feedback, you need to have identified your exact users. If you have identified them, I would highly recommend you get a real prototype in front of your clients and try it out before building your product.

In our case, the development team is the customer of the AI Project Management Bot for Discord and Jira, or you might call it the AI Project Manager. We are solving our problem:

Anca — Agile Coach & Owner of Mawia, Agile Coaching company — how might I help Eray’s team build AI products successfully using Agile methodologies?

Eray — Business Owner of Sigma RD, Machine Learning Software Development company — how might I get to know how to organize my team, Jira, and all these tools to get more clients and continue doing what we like — AI products?

Challenge 2: Select your starting point

That’s a hard one. I have this idea for years. I worked with teams that built multiple modules of my product idea. Now we started from the existing prototypes. We had two options: carry on with what was already there or start new.

To be successful, you must be pragmatic. I also worked with Business Owner and Product Managers that weren’t that successful. I also worked with people who had great ideas, but they took a very long time to decide. That’s something I share today with my clients, too: a “bad” decision is better than no decision. It would help if you failed early to succeed fast. Look at Space X. How many rockets did they blast until they managed to get their boosters land nicely?

That’s the first golden rule we applied this week on Orli: decide what technology to use. We did a spike. Learn more about:

We agreed on the starting point: small software development companies that use Discord for their internal communication and Jira as their project management tool.

Those of you who read this article and are a software company that uses Discord, but not Jira, I have news for you: Jira released a FREE FOREVER version. If you need any help on getting started, write a comment down below, or write me a private message. We can help you (for free).

If you are looking for a Scrum Bot for Discord, you can install Orli here:

Challenge 3: Product Roadmap and Prioritisation

As an Agile Coach, I’m using so many Design Thinking processes with my clients that I had to do the right mix for my product.

Learn more about Design Thinking Processes:

I’ve done the very compressed version of the Sprint methodology of Google(drop a comment down below if you want to know more about it), I’ve done user journey and user story mapping. I’ve defined my Minimum Viable Product. Amazing! I was excited about the results. I’m showing them to Eray, he, my client, seems to agree with me, and when we get into the development, I found that the priorities I set as a Product Owner are not the right ones for my user. Bum! 1 week of work dumped to the bottom of the product backlog.

The items on the top of the product backlog deliver the highest business value. In Agile Software Development, we provide the highest customer value first. As the user stories, I created respected INVEST's principle, I could reprioritize my product backlog on the spot and offer high customer value.

Learn more about how to write user stories here:

Challenge 4: How to be Agile, go live while “we don’t have it all.”

I’m sharing with you the very beginning of Orli’s journey when we don’t have it all. That’s how you get started with Agile Product Development as a small software development company: with an idea, with a great team, with a vision, no customer, but with a defined starting point, a moving sand backlog, and without a name or website.

The initial name of Orli was Amy. But there were about 4–5 AI products using the name of Amy. I needed to change the name. When we first launched, we didn’t have a domain or a website. Amy was a vision. Amy wasn’t a product yet.

It is one of the toughest points in any product: going live even you don’t have it all. I see it with my clients every day: they want a perfect product, to be very useful from the beginning. A product owner wants his/her work to be mind blown from the start. But in reality, we become who we are, and our products become what they are.

With Orli — the AI Project Management Bot for Discord and Jira, I’m building a product following the Agile Product Development methodology as Anca, the Agile Coach would do it. We are starting on Monday, 25th of May 2020, the first sprint, and on Friday the 5th of June 2020, we will have the first sprint review.

Edit on 11/06/2020: We have released Orli. It can find download it for your Discord server from I’m still working on the website, on making the product more usable. But that is perfectly normal in Agile environments. We already have the first clients using it.

If you want to be one of our first users, if you’re going to be inspired by our Agile Software Development journey of an Artificial Intelligence product, follow me on Medium, feel free to download Orli (Discord — Jira Integration) to your Discord server, drop your questions and suggestions in the comments.

Edit on 8th November 2020: Orli has almost 400 users. If you want to send us a certain request for a feature, please drop me a message.