Times change quickly, as do the trends associated with them. It wasn’t long ago that everyone was hurrying to adopt an agile or scrum methodology. Now, CICD and DevOps are the enviable strategies. With organizations constantly working to improve their speed and agility, approaches will change as well.
How can you determine which changes have the most impact on your business, though? Determining agility requires a company to closely examine their software development cycle, but is an agile methodology best? There are several strategies you can apply to your software cycle, and which is best remains up for debate. Choosing Agile is an excellent way to see a impact on the planning, analysis, and development phases, but what about the other three stages in the cycle? Here’s how you can pursue a full Agile software lifecycle in 2018.
Agile development, currently, offers the greatest benefit to our business in four key areas. Your visibility is improved, adaptability is made easier, the value of your business increases, and the level of risk plummets to an all-time low.
Visibility helps to preserve the interest of stakeholders in a project. The principles of agile encourage active user involvement during development, creating a highly collaborative approach that appeals to the project manager as well as the development and testing teams. As teams become more self-organized, they can quickly adapt to complications and changes as needed. Productivity increases, as does value with team morale boosted through a higher sense of ownership on the project.
Increased time-to-market thanks to automation boosts your business value through both consumer satisfaction and revenue, while automation also eliminates the risks generally involved during projects. All in all, an agile operation stand to benefit your business the most, but how can you implement this approach on a broad scale?
CICD and DevOps Are Not Enough
While the latest market trend is to adopt both CICD and DevOps, those alone do not make your company agile. In order to make your entire lifecycle agile, you’ll need t focus on the specific goal of each phase in the cycle. This is how the cycle breaks down:
- Phase One: Planning – Methodology
- Phase Two: Analysis – Methodology
- Phase Three: Design – Architecture
- Phase Four: Implementation – Methodology and Technology
- Phase Five: Testing and Integration – Automation and Infrastructure
- Phase Six: Maintenance – Automation and Infrastructure
The goal of methodology is to allow for any changes in your business to be quickly adapted to, while architecture involves creating flexible solutions for continued changed in your business. Automation involves automating your time-consuming processes, while infrastructure’s goal is to remain reliable while keeping up with changes and additions. Finally, technology’s goal is to provide the quickest long-term results. Here’s how to take those goals and make them agile.
An agile methodology requires collaboration between and business and its IT department. This brings about a quicker time to value by allowing you to discover the necessary requirements faster. That quick adoption to changing needs within your business improves both speed and agility in phases one, two, and four.
Principles from component-based and microservices architecture allow you to create autonomous, independent systems. With a reduced impact of change, this gives your business incredible flexibility. Making your architecture agile impacts phase three the most, which allows you to reap the benefits during phases four and six.
Making automation agile can be easier said than done. Start by adding up the time spent on manual tasks, then automate the tasks that consume the most amount of time. Aside from reducing the risk of error, phase five of the lifecycle receives a speed boost.
In order to continue your agile streak within the lifecycle, you’ll need to maintain flexibility in your infrastructure. Waiting around for servers is unacceptable in this model, so use an IaaS provider for immediate positioning. Next, System Operations need to focus on improving instead of provisioning.
In order to achieve that, automation and containerization should be combined. You’ll see your speed and agility improve after this implementation, specifically in phases five and six.
Becoming agile is impossible without the right technology, especially when achieving agile. Start by identifying your focus areas, making sure to look into your underlying business goals. This should help you choose technology that can achieve those goals with the least amount of manual effort.
Don’t be afraid to adopt a variety of technologies that work in combination to support the pursuit of your goals, including agility. Those that can grow with you are especially worth your time and effort during the vetting process. Consider full-stack platforms but keep speed and your goal of becoming agile in the forefront of your mind.
When considering maintenance tools, those that aid all of your teams while alleviating as many manual tasks as problem work best. For instance, the best type of log management – cloud-based log management | Papertrail is an excellent platform, allowing single-point access and the development infrastructure-wide policies.
Defining Agility and Focus for Your Business
After examining how these five key areas can become agile, how close is your business to the full realization of agility? What would your next steps be to further implement this strategy, and how could you focus on other phases within the lifecycle?
As you work towards full agility, it is highly recommended to start with the phases that are the least mature. So, if your automation and infrastructure could use the most work, hone your focus there.
Becoming proficient in Scrum, having a solid SOA architecture, and moving towards microservices are all an excellent start. If you’re still hosting your own hardware, making provisioning a virtual machine a days’ long process, then you have a long way to go. On the bright side, you know where to start. With the right mindset, a close look at your current cycle, and the right technology, achieving a fully agile software lifecycle is possible. As trends move further into the future, agility will more than likely become the mainstay in software development. Therefore, putting in the work to increase agility now will pay off down the road.