The current competitiveness in the software development industry has put a high premium on companies needing to be flexible. Geared towards rapid delivery and continuous tractability, agile culture has taken over the project management space and increased the success rate of many software companies.
The most recent State of Agile Report from CollabNet VersionOne highlights that 97% of organisations surveyed practice agile development methods. Citing a success rate of 95% in at least one, and 48% of all their agile initiatives, the development culture is gaining a fast adoption rate on a global scale. Cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction are the top benefits organisations cite as their reason for adopting an agile culture.
With the buzz it is creating in helping transform businesses, more and more companies are maximizing agile culture to reap its benefits. Here is everything you need to know about agile culture, from its advantages to enablers and much more.
What is Agile?
Agile culture is a project management method, which focuses on providing viable products very quickly. One of the methods of agile development is Scrum. This methodology is where the development cycle is split up into smaller sections and completed in short periods of time or sprints. These sprints or development cycles are then reviewed periodically between cycles.
Agile has become very popular in software companies. While some think agile is only for startups, software giants like Apple and Philips have switched to implementing agile and Scrum methods for greater flexibility. India’s biggest software company TCS has also announced its current shift to agile methods. The tech giant highlights that their pivot involves a “massive overhaul to the middle management”.
Agile vs. Waterfall
For a long time, waterfall was the default development cycle management method for deploying off-the-shelf enterprise software like SAP and ERP. In fact, the agile method was developed in reaction to the rigidity of the waterfall method. The waterfall method deploys software in a sequential and often efficient way but can take years before testing. In contrast, agile concurrently plans, tests, and overhauls the projects throughout the process.
Enterprise applications often favour the waterfall method as it’s seen as a stable approach that guarantees success of deployment. But with the changing landscape of business-to-business software services, iterative and customer-driven development cycles have become indispensable. A study published in IEEE found that agile methods reduced the complexity of ERP customization.
Key Enablers of Agile
The dominance of agile methods in the software development industry have been cemented by the emergence of three things: DevOps, cloud computing, and containerization.
Agile and DevOps
Once concept that is always conflated with agile is DevOps. This paradigm brings two large siloed teams together to allow for quicker software releases—development and operations. While created independently from agile, DevOps has now become the catalyst that helped cultivate agile culture’s success. Both have similar concentration to deploying faster in recycled bursts, but DevOps focuses more on automating and streamlining processes to enable continuous deployment. By providing stability and effective documentation, DevOps embodies agile’s goal—fast, coordinated, and effective deployment.
Cloud Computing and Agile
Cloud computing has upended the project development industry by introducing cloud-based and cloud-native software development. It has enabled centralized computing which compliments the flexibility of agile processes and DevOps. Without the advent of cloud models, agile culture’s on-demand and disposable testing environments would not be possible. As agile focuses on continuously deploying and testing, having many servers available through the cloud makes parallel code testing possible.
Bulletproof’s Lorraine Pauls Longhurst told CIO that for an organisation to be agile and your Scrum team to be cross-functional, you need to integrate cloud solution engineers. Only in a functional cloud environment can agile come close to releasing frequent iterations within the sprints.
The widespread use of cloud tech has led to more developers learning how to best utilize the technology. Online learning platform Udemy has 119 courses on cloud computing with over 498,000 students currently learning about the technology. As more people understand how to integrate cloud technology into business processes, the more they will be able to embrace an agile management culture.
Containerization and agility
Containerization software has made iteration more portable, efficient, and secure. Unlike virtual machines, containers can provide isolated environments perfect for parameter testing. Learning container software like Docker, Openshift, and Kubernetes makes the cost-effective iterative deployment possible.
As these technologies mature, agile culture will continue to dominate the project management paradigm. With the rapidly changing landscape in software markets and continuous disruption caused by innovation, flexibility will remain the silver bullet in the software development industry.
If you want to learn more about these types of software there are many ways to study. We have lessons on computing platforms like Azure Functions that have easy to follow guides.