Why Global Software Companies Should Run Agile Localization Processes Alongside Agile Development Cycles

F-secure case study - agile_Page_2Agile software development plays an important role in modern software engineering. The term “agile development” refers to a group of methodologies based on iterative and incremental development. Common themes include continuous and ongoing planning, testing, integration and feedback. What is important with agile development compared to traditional methods is that decisions and developments take place quickly and effectively.

For global organizations, agile development needs agile localization. The localization workflow must be adapted and integrated into the agile development cycles. Welocalize and F-Secure have implemented an agile localization process. In this blog, Mika Pehkonen from F-Secure tells us just how agile he is in localization.

By Mika Pehkonen, Documentation and Localization Manager at F-Secure. 

At F-Secure we need to be able to send out incremental software updates, patches and new features – quickly – in ALL target languages.

These updates have to be developed & distributed quicker than the source product. We use an agile localization process (with one of our main LSPs, Welocalize) meaning localization and translation runs parallel to the agile software development process. Development AND translation for updates and new features are continually processed in regular “sprints”.

Key differences between traditional and agile localization lie in the drop frequency of projects (high), size of projects (small) and turnaround (quick). The Agile cycle has small incremental “sprints” – concentrated bursts of activity that produce swift results. Localization is continually part of the agile cycle compared to the traditional cycle, where localization only starts to play a significant role at the end, as the source product gets closer to its international release date. Having a regular team of translators consistently involved in the localization process also means linguistic bugs in language variants are identified earlier. Calculations show that it can cost €1000 to fix a linguistic bug – the less bugs, the more cost savings.

If you starting localization late, when you’re well into the development cycle, it leaves little time to amend some of the user experience related elements . Translators are experts of the culturally adapted end user experience AND are able to identify bug and quality issues. Having them as part of the continual process means there is time to take their feedback on board. Agile methodology allows us to have the translators continually involved in the development cycle. Resources and processes can be set up and scheduled to deal with a more predictable flow of translation projects.

It seems logical that agile software development needs agile localization. As a localization manager, being able to schedule and therefore predict my future resource requirements – we keep a consistent team of translators through Welocalize who have in-depth knowledge of F-Secure’s global product range and therefore can contribute to its success.


Mika Pehkonen manages localization at the global security software company F-Secure. He is based in Finland and has over fifteen years’ experience in localization and is a frequent speaker at industry events.

Read the entire case study here: http://www.welocalize.com/wp-content/uploads/delightful-downloads/2013/12/F-secure-case-study-agile.pdf