Agile is an Awesome Approach

Agile is an Awesome Approach

Agile software development is an often misunderstood and misused term. In an exclusive new series of articles, IDG Connect offers expert insight and opinion on Agile. In this piece, Hamish Tedeschi, a director and senior test consultant at MagenTys, explains why Agile isn't just a methodology, it's a mindset.

I won't say that Agile is the be-all and end-all but done well, it's awesome, delivering faster time to market. Done wrong it can be awful though, and I have seen everything in projects from complete success to complete failures.

Of course there are some differing definitions of Agile. Some people say they ‘do' Agile but what they mean is they have distributed teams. For me, Agile's not really a methodology, it's more of a mindset about collaboration and innovation and the way the two go hand in hand.

It supports the notion that implementing a good idea can only come from close work with workmates. We use what we call Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD) where we treat software test automation and communication as equal goals to help customers get what they want. We make sure that the whole team speaks the same language as the customer to avoid misunderstandings. There's a set of rules you tend to adhere to, but instead of writing it down we tend to use examples.

You need to meet on a regular basis. It might not be on an hourly basis but if you're dropping daily meetings then that's a recipe for disaster.

There are no hiding places in a team of seven or eight people and you need the right balance. It's not just about coders. If your business is taxi driving, you need the expert on that involved, and you need leadership.

You do see companies that are taking elements of Agile but watering it down - I see it a lot in banks - but if you're doing three sprints before production you're really losing the advantages. You don't get innovation in waterfall but different approaches work for different scenarios. I don't want Agile to be behind the software in the next aeroplane I take, but the fast, iterative, lightweight approach suits the new generation of apps.

What might be interesting is the effect all this has on offshore firms, such as Indian outsourcing giants, where the approach has been to go away and not quite throw it over the fence but be very project-based. In Agile you really need cooperation through co-location and if you can't have face-to-face interaction then you should just go waterfall.

 

Hamish Tedeschi is a director and senior test consultant at MagenTys, software testing company

 

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Comments

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Mack Kigada on June 30 2014

Indeed, the Cloud will open up IT to many new sectors where compute and storage infrastructure costs are a barrier. Instead of building data centers, providing power, cooling and connectivity for compute resources, Cloud services will enable businesses to concentrate on their core competencies.

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Neil Cosser on July 01 2014

One of the biggest long term challenges with the cloud is the lack of security of your business critical data. If you cannot ensure that your data remains yours, you will be reticent to fully embrace the cloud and all of it's potential.

no-images

Darrell MacLennan on July 05 2014

I don't know so much about the cloud being such a big thing for Africa - having lived in SA & visited Nigeria. Internet connectivity is not that great, so if you're in a major centre, maybe, but what if you're not? And how about you people sort your login system out?

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Daniel Levy on July 06 2014

Adding to Neil's comments, beside security - cloud assumes that there is a reliable last-mile connectivity network. No SMB or business will rely on critical cloud applications over an unreliable network. To-date, only copper, fiber and fixed-wireless networks can cater to such demands. If these won't grow accordingly (in size and affordability), cloud will be limited to individual or non-critical applications.

no-images

Mack Kigada on June 30 2014

Indeed, the Cloud will open up IT to many new sectors where compute and storage infrastructure costs are a barrier. Instead of building data centers, providing power, cooling and connectivity for compute resources, Cloud services will enable businesses to concentrate on their core competencies.

no-images

Neil Cosser on July 01 2014

One of the biggest long term challenges with the cloud is the lack of security of your business critical data. If you cannot ensure that your data remains yours, you will be reticent to fully embrace the cloud and all of it's potential.

no-images

Darrell MacLennan on July 05 2014

I don't know so much about the cloud being such a big thing for Africa - having lived in SA & visited Nigeria. Internet connectivity is not that great, so if you're in a major centre, maybe, but what if you're not? And how about you people sort your login system out?

no-images

Daniel Levy on July 06 2014

Adding to Neil's comments, beside security - cloud assumes that there is a reliable last-mile connectivity network. No SMB or business will rely on critical cloud applications over an unreliable network. To-date, only copper, fiber and fixed-wireless networks can cater to such demands. If these won't grow accordingly (in size and affordability), cloud will be limited to individual or non-critical applications.

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