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Stay Agile… with Agile

Stay Agile… with Agile

Enterprises are under enormous pressure to deliver great business results with mobility projects. That means the pressure is also on software development practices like never before. Transitioning from more traditional methods to Agile is now widely recognized as the best way to fulfill the demands of business driven by a mobile, IoT-enabled world.

But as we all know, in practice, Agile is not a binary state (Agile/ not Agile). The majority of enterprises are somewhere on the Agile spectrum: perhaps some stages of your software lifecycle have been upgraded to Agile, some still haven’t; certain projects have got the Agile treatment, others are still waiting. Furthermore, running an Agile team means keeping an ear to the ground for the latest emerging trends. After all, the available toolkit is expanding rapidly, whether we’re talking about new answers to old problems, or brand new solutions for new challenges. Even though there is no shortage of information out there about Agile practices, it can be hard to know what to do next.

That’s why we have come up with a few tips aimed at critical stages of the SDLC that should help you maintain your Agile momentum, and hopefully accelerate it.

Focus on business priorities

You’ve restructured to form small, focused teams. Great! Now what? One of the main reasons Agile has become the goal for most organizations is because it delivers better results for the business. You can measure that in frequency of product releases, but most business people won’t. They’ll expect each new mobile initiative to deliver certain results, and they’ll want to measure success accordingly. What Agile does particularly well is close the gap between what developers deliver and what stakeholders want. Agile is not just about mastering a ton of new technologies; it’s about culture change too. Small, focused teams pave the way for better project collaboration, whether it’s within the team, thanks to flexible roles and cross-training, or upstream between the other business stakeholders and the dev team.

Testing times ahead

OK, now it’s time to tackle development, testing and operations. Downstream is where a lot of Agile good intentions get unstuck. Scrum and Kanban can get your mobility initiative off to a good start, but maintaining momentum will be a challenge if the right testing and QA practices aren’t in place. With so many devices, technology platforms, network connections, use cases and carriers to test for, successful mobile projects need an Agile approach in order to fly. That means paying more attention to test automation: automating manual processes wherever possible, integrating quality earlier in the cycle via a feedback-driven approach, using the latest application UI testing tools (to help tackle device diversity) and tools to unify testing across web, mobile and native environments.

Don’t stop there

Now that your test / QA practices have moved up a gear, it’s time to take on CI/CD. Embracing continuous delivery can appear daunting; so keep focused on the overall gains. Think of it as a sprint finish (no pun intended) in a race. Achieve continuous delivery and you have end-to-end Agile in your mobility project, and what’s more you’ll have a better product to show for it. By which we mean, specifically, a product that delivers what the business intended, a product that can be updated and features released into the wild far more quickly, problems can be fixed faster and efficiencies delivered in both time and money. Tools like JACoCo, Clover, Crucible, SonarQube and Cucumber are amongst those that will help you with test automation, while automating delivery requires tools like Docker, Electric Cloud, OpenStack, PuppetLabs and Chef. If you’re still feeling hesitant, Apexon offers a tailored program, leveraging Jenkins and Selenium, to jumpstart your CI/CD in just 7-8 weeks.

Just keep going!

Once one project is end-to-end Agile, it’s time to take a look at replicating the good work across other areas. Picking and mixing Agile with older methods is ok; in fact, in many cases, it’s the only practical way to get Agile off the ground. It’s also ok to tweak your Agile development as you go along – learning what works is an essential part of the journey.

We’ve talked about how firms might embrace Agile more fully, but how do you keep abreast of the new approaches and tools as they emerge? Keeping up with software development feels like a fulltime job these days. The truth is you have to carve out time to discover new practices, whether that’s through online forums, the Atlassian marketplace, conferences, your staff or from your app dev partner. We know time is hard to come by for busy application development and delivery professionals. That’s where Agile can help once again. By automating manual processes, Agile practices should save you time and money. Equally, partnering with a specialist such as Apexon will accelerate Agile in your enterprise, as we leverage proven technologies, tools and strategic blueprints. To find out more, please contact us.

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