agile-challenges-benefits

Successful Businesses Get Agile

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 first piece, Paul Wander, VP of sales and marketing at Inviqa, discusses the challenges, as well as some of the benefits of Agile.

As more and more businesses rely on web development to meet their goals, Agile has evolved into a wonderfully misunderstood and often misused term. So, what does it mean to a business leader?

Firstly, let me establish that I am not a fanatic; Agile is just a way that we have found for things to work out better. I readily accept there are other ways of achieving the same outcomes, and it's likely there are ways that I am not aware of.

Essentially, embracing Agile software development is meant to establish favourable conditions to increase the likelihood of creating more valuable applications for your business. This is achieved through enabling developers and teams to deliver these benefits:

  • Better understanding and therefore meeting business goals
  • Shipping systems faster
  • Rapidly incorporating change, adding features and fixing defects
  • Forming joint business and IT teams, continuously interacting with end users
  • Improving the quality of deliverables

Cutting down on costs associated with traditional, longer duration software development models.

In a world of reduced budgets, rapid changes in the business environment and frequently changing technology, Agile software development (if done right) can frankly be a lifesaver.

Challenges with Agile

If you want to reap the benefits associated with Agile development you are likely to have to make a number of changes to the way both business and IT look at software development.

Agile development creates cultural change across a range of roles from developers, designers, testers, PMs and business stakeholders. It can be very hard for people to adapt to this change.

There is another caveat. Agile is not applicable to everyone or every situation. Adopting all the elements of Agile in a huge company where developers are scattered across different time zones might lead to chaos, if left uncontrolled.

In such cases, companies will have to cherry pick those Agile principles and adopt relevant practices which help them deliver more valuable applications. Agile in itself is no silver bullet. It alone does not guarantee any kind of success for a software development project.

A study by Forrester for HP suggested that applying Agile techniques has helped already successful companies get even better. This should be taken in the context of another survey, for example by VersionOne  which has indicated that Agile development failed because of a number of factors like corporate culture, the type of people in the team, and communication issues. In other words, look before you leap.

Conclusion

The respondents in the Forrester study for whom Agile was successful said that adopting the methodology helped them in:

  • Accelerating time to market
  • Easily managing changing priorities
  • Closely aligning business and IT

If these are the kinds of things that you would like to achieve with your projects but have not been able to do so, give Agile a try.


By Paul Wander, VP Sales and Marketing, Inviqa

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