Walk Me to the Car… What’s the Big Deal with Agile Software Development?

This is part of our Walk Me to the Car series – be sure to take a look at a few of our other topics such as “3 Things I Need to Know about the Cloud”

Today’s installment of our power-packed new “Walk Me to the Car” blog series for busy execs asks: What is the big deal with the new software development models, such as DevOps, Agile, CD, and so forth?

Background: Development processes have undergone a radical time compression and reduction of wasteful steps to produce functioning software.  What used to take months can now be done in days. This may seem pretty far down in the weeds, but it actually affects the way a lot of businesses operate.  Here are three common models that are having an impact on business:

o   Agile Software Development – Developing working software iteratively and incrementally that delivers consistent value to users on a frequent basis. It’s an alternative to traditional methods that involves a sequentially phased approach: requirements, design, code, test, and operate.

o   DevOps – A merging of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) into cooperative teams that are responsible for managing software when it’s in use.  DevOps makes possible faster delivery of new capabilities and responsiveness to issues for users. With the teams united, there’s less “throwing code over the wall” from development to operations. Instead the entire team shares the same goal.

o   Continuous Integration (CI) – This approach requires developers to integrate their separate code changes on a frequent basis, typically daily or more often, to reduce wasteful rework and detect issues earlier. The result is a streamlined delivery pipeline for software to go from development to operations.

What are the top 3 things I need to know about the new agile software development models?

1)      They’re fast – Done right, these new models of software development can speed up the process of taking a business technology from idea to fruition.  What used to be, “Give us a year and we can do it,” now becomes, “Partner with the dev team and they’ll show you a workable instance in two weeks.”

2)      They enable new ways of using software in a business – When you move quickly and iterate often, it’s possible to try new ideas and respond in relevant ways to actionable feedback from users.  Software becomes a means to achieve a business goal, not an obstacle.

3)      They contribute to business agility – Being able to make changes to software quickly and inexpensively enables an organization to be agile.  Even big companies can operate like “lean startups,” by experimenting with concepts that are quickly rolled out for feedback from customers and then revised in response to that feedback.

Give me two good reasons to embrace new software development models.

1)      They can make you more competitive – Responding quickly to customer desires with software they like can provide you with a competitive advantage.  Conversely, your competitors will get out ahead if they rapidly develop the apps that your customers love.

2)      They’re the path to being a mobile-friendly and/or digital business – Most mobile apps and new online customer experiences are created using these new methodologies. If you have a mobile strategy, or want to connect your core business systems to new Web interfaces, these agile methodologies are the best approach.

Give me two things to be worried about.

1. Hardware with system engineering teams – It is difficult to put hardware dependencies into an iterative/incremental delivery cycle. Many times existing approaches for hardware working alongside software dependent teams can work just fine but is a delicate dance.

  1. There’s a learning curve – Agile software development changes the way people do things and often requires changes to management structures and responsibilities to avoid putting stress on traditional management layers.

What is the takeaway idea for me in all of this?   Agile software development methodologies are a reality.  Your organization is likely already adopting them, if unofficially. The challenge is to embrace them where they will have the most beneficial impact on the business.

 

The Crib Sheet

CUT ME OUT for the WALK TO THE CAR

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What are the top 3 things I need to know about the new software development models?

1)      They’re fast

2)      They enable new ways of using software in the business

3)      They contribute to business agility

Give me two good reasons to embrace new software development models.

1)      They can make you more competitive

2)      They’re the path to being a mobile-friendly and/or digital business

Give me two things to be worried about.

1)     Hardware dependencies – make sure your process is designed to account for them

2)     There’s a learning curve

What is the takeaway idea for me in all of this?

They’re a reality and your organization is likely already adopting them. Embrace them where they will have the most beneficial impact on the business.

 

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