Agile Development

What Is "Agile Development?"

We just read that the biggest EMR Company in the world launched their first agile implementation in 2014 and cut their implementation time from about two and a half years to about 16 months. That’s pretty amazing for a Big City Hospital and a thirty-something-year-old EMR vendor.

But we’re KIPU and we’re different. First, let’s define “Agile”; it’s a relatively new buzzword you’ve probably heard or read about.



Not Agile: Not long ago, not far away, like when all our real competitors started; programmers wrote code. Then, when the program was ready, customers were trained to use the software as the programmers intended, NOT as the customer works. This causes long training and implementation time because their software isn’t intuitive – NOT easy to use, by far. The way you work doesn’t matter – you’ll learn to work the way their software works and that’s frustrating and time consuming. That’s what you can expect with our competitors. It’s the result of old software that was never intended to be in the cloud. And their implementations are just as backwards. They come in for 10-24 months and create or implement a system that fits their software. Then they drag your staff in, kicking and screaming and force the new system down your staff’s throat. You’ve got six figures invested so the most you can do is insist “it’s for your own good, learn to use this thing and we’ll all be better off.” New staff has to go through the same time consuming and confusing learning curve and no-one lists that old EMR on their resume – forget hiring trained staff.

More often than you think, people give up and call Kipu.

Sometimes they’re 20 months and six figures into an implementation, and other times, after the system is in and they discover how backwards that other system is.* All this reminds us of those systems the airlines use – every time we’re in line at the airport talking to reservation agents. IT’S CRAZY, right?

Oh, and programs that were written before “The Cloud” intended to be put on local servers, so they need VPN or Citrix Server if you want to access them remotely.  That’s a whole other problem.  And forget access from a phone or tablet with those old clunkers.


So what’s Agile Already?
Like we said, we’re KIPU and we’re different. Kipu was built over a two year period in the cloud. Inside a CARF accredited detox facility, then in two different Joint Commission Accredited Residential Treatment facilities with PHP, IOP and OP as well. We worked directly with and for the actual users. That’s what Agile Development means. It seems straight forward enough but it’s a new and different way of thinking. Agile Development produces easy to use, intuitive software with no trade off in power, speed, or depth. And we built Kipu IN The Cloud in a modern programming language called Ruby on Rails, which is what Twitter was written in.  That means we’re not only Fast, Powerful, and Easy to access in our Private Cloud without VPN or Citrix server, but also that modern programming languages are easy to revise and update.

Kipu was built using the same programming language that powers Twitter…Ruby on Rails

As Kipu was being built, users came in and sat with our developers – right there at the detox / treatment facilities, every few days. We built it side by side with users, so when it was finished, it was easy to use, fast and intuitive. In fact many users can sit down and use Kipu EMR without training, and it’s the most listed EMR for addiction treatment you’ll find on people’s resumes.

FUN FACT: After a year in detox (and that’s the longest anyone’s ever been in detox, LOL). We went to C.A.R.E Florida, a well-known residential treatment facility to build out many features for treatment. Our challenge there was that many staff and therapists were in their 60’s and 70’s and not so keen on going from paper to computers. The obvious goal was to build, again, in an agile environment, a system that older, wiser therapists would be delighted to use. We’re happy to report that we succeeded. Several even put off retirement because of the rejuvenated feeling and fun they got using Kipu EMR.

To this day, Kipu’s developers constantly visit clients to learn how they work. Then, and only then do they code to develop updates and features. So…”Agile” kind of means “we built it with you and we work your way – You don’t have to adapt and work our way”.

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Kipu's TEN principles of Agile Development. (Another Kipu advantage.)



Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Being Agile. Working according to a set of principles and values that encourage breaking large portions of a project into smaller functional portions that can be developed quickly.



We welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

Being Nimble. Where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams



Deliver working software frequently, with constant updates, many by client request.

We concentrate our focus on customer satisfaction - through rapid adaptability - to deliver working software product that answers our customers' needs, quickly.



We believe that business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Our developers are businesspeople, with a keen understanding of the addiction treatment industry. Teaming with our clients offers us an amazing opportunity to build better, more helpful products.



Build software around motivated individuals. Give them the environment, support their needs, and trust them to get the job done.

That's job one. Create an environment that encourages partnership with our clients, give them the freedom to succeed, and great things happen. Our implementations are normally completed within 30-60 days. And training requires just days, not weeks or months. That's the power of motivated teams.



We believe that the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Within our teams, there's a lot of discussion regarding an implementation, and we spend a lot of time with each client during onboarding and beyond.  



We believe that flawlessly functioning software, that is efficient, powerful and easy to use, is the primary measure of progress.

We set the bar very, very high. That's why Kipu has become the Gold Standard for addiction treatment. The ultimate EMR because we followed one guiding rule as we built Kipu: it must be easy to use. So while there's enormous power under the hood, the KipuEMR has become legendary for it's easy to use interface. We know how you work, so we built a system that understands how to save you time, effort and expense.



We know that continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

It's all about the details. All the hundreds of time-saving shortcuts that are built into the KipuEMR save hours and hours of time. But we're never done. We're continually upgrading our system, refining our processes, listening to customers and implementing smart ideas, and making the best...even better.



We work for simplicity; the art of maximizing the amount of work NOT done--is essential.

That's the whole idea: make it look simple. Eliminate tasks, gather information and signatures with a click, process requests and results...all done for you. Our product enhances productivity, and that means more time for your staff to work with patients. And margin for error is drastically cut.



The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

That's agile development in a nutshell. We let teams form themselves, establish workflows and get the job done. Talented developers will work with each client to tailer their Kipu instance to their exact needs.


*If you’re one of those, call us. We have a cash for clunkers trade in program that has paid out millions in trade in money.


Agile Development
...means “we built it with you and we work your way – You don’t have to adapt and work our way”.

In fact, we’ve been out at demos and people say “that’s so perfect, we feel like you’ve been spying on us to see how we work…because Kipu EMR is spot on for what we do.” We just love seeing smiles like that when we show our system to people.

Our implementation works the same way. We’re there with your staff adapting our system to the way you work, not vice versa. We’re constantly working with your staff to get buy-off and involvement along the way – So when we’re ready to train, your staff has already seen it and they’re excited to get started on the new system.

And that’s why we uniquely offer a 30 day guaranteed implementation and a money back guarantee as part of our 5-Way Guarantee.




Agile Development
A short history​
In the late 1990’s, several methodologies began to gain increasing public attention, each having a different combination of old and new ideas.

These methodologies emphasized close collaboration between the development team and business stakeholders; frequent delivery of business value, tight, self-organizing teams; and smart ways to craft, confirm, and deliver code.

The term "Agile" was applied to this collection of methodologies in early 2001 when 17 software development practitioners gathered in Snowbird, Utah to discuss their shared ideas and various approaches to software development.

This joint collection of values and principles was expressed in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the corresponding twelve principles.

Agile Alliance was formed shortly after this gathering to encourage practitioners to further explore and share ideas and experiences.

Agile Alliance continues to curate resources to help you adopt Agile practices and improve your ability to develop software with agility.