Most thought leaders and technology pioneers across industries have been fascinated by how DevOps can transform software development workflows. DevOps can be thought of as an evolution of Agile practices and takes the innovations of the Agile approach forward in creative ways. In the initial stages of embracing Agile, companies must strategize wisely to make the shift.
Several enterprises have taken the shortened approach of hiring Scrum Masters, and training teams with some concepts of Agile and calling it a day. However, the right approach is far more complicated and consists of a more holistic transformation for an organization that involves a complete understanding and inculcation of Agile philosophies.
There are various stages in Agile adoption wherein something does not fall into place and causes breaks in the workflow. Identifying these breakpoints and sending in reinforcements is also a specialized skill that is fast becoming sought after.
In this article we will explore these breakpoints in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), identifying when they occur and how an organization can resolve them in a timely manner.
What Causes Breakpoints In Agile Adoption?
The adoption of Agile methodologies involves the adoption of practices such as daily standup, retrospectives, iteration planning, iteration reviews, and short iterations. When bringing such a large-scale paradigm shift in how a software organization develops software, there are bound to be hurdles and interruptions along the way, which are sometimes overlooked as well. Infrastructure automation is an important process that organizations should learn to avoid some of these breakpoints.
Here are some challenges faced in Agile adoption:
1.Employees Losing Interest: When implementing the Agile methodology we cannot afford to discount the fact that workers represent a horde of moving parts, that if not managed properly, can be a massive breakpoint. When it comes to large changes in a company, a small percentage of workers are apprehensive about it and become disengaged. This can lead to activities that are harmful to the company's well-being and could also put a massive stop to the existing SDLC methodology.
2.Top-Down Implementation: Agile implementation should ideally be an organization-wide change, but the company's management tends to frame it as a team-level task. Without an in-depth analysis of how teams will work with an Agile strategy, a company cannot go forward with its day-to-day functions. It cannot leave to the teams to self-organize and achieve the end goals as imagined in the company's Agile mission statement. Components of the organization such as the project, program, portfolio management, staffing, organizational alignment, and budgeting need to be reworked according to Agile principles.
3.Implementing MVP: A popularly implemented concept of Agile is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which involves creating a software product with the most basic essential features. This is supposed to help the team validate assumptions in each iteration of the software development and ultimately build the right product after all the possible iterations have been implemented. But without a uniform top-down implementation of Agile in an organization and with workers feeling disengaged, it is often challenging to come up with a well-designed product at the end of several MVP iterations.
4.Limited Real-Time Benefits: The inspection and adaptation concepts of the Agile methodology are rarely applied in a real organization's workflow. This is why the real-time benefits that this methodology can potentially bring for an organization are seldom realized. Most people involved in the Agile implementation of software development do not get to reap the benefits of Agile because they lack the proactive outlook required for it. Entire enterprises tend to label the Agile methodology as wasteful and improper utilization of their bandwidth because of intangible benefits. This is actually a result of patchy or incomplete implementation of Agile solutions and instead adoption of hybrid solutions.
How To Fix Agile Adoption Breakpoints
It is not surprising to see several software organizations try and fail to successfully shift to an Agile SDLC, especially with so many uncertainties surrounding its proper implementation. The following are some fixes for the above mentioned Agile adoption breakpoints:
Organizations getting their teams to adopt Agile methodologies can hire Agile coaches to train their teams on a highly detailed and individualistic level. Every member of the Agile team must be equipped to deal with any future breakpoints in the continued implementation of the principles and associated strategies. Experts can also address the uncertainties of the fence-sitters on the benefits of complete and holistic as well as team-wide and individualistic adoption of Agile principles.
2.Equipping The Necessary Tools:
When shifting to a new methodology any organization will have to move on to newer forms of self-assessment and better metrics to measure their success. Once new team augmentation tools are introduced into an organization that shifts to Agile methodologies, everything constantly needs to be kept up to date. Through a process of carefully measured trial and error, organizations have to conclude which tools work best for them. More widespread and successful Agile adoption will lead to better tools adoption as well.
Companies that have software product development at the core of their business must have a robust mechanism that can facilitate the deployment of code several times a day. Shifting to an Agile methodology must coincide with a shift to a highly scalable code deployment strategy. These companies must establish a clear vision for the product they are building and provide clearly defined guidelines for their teams for the deployment of these products' components. A culture of constant communication and maintaining transparency throughout the Agile adoption process is essential.
4.Constant Feedback Loops:
There should be a fast process of feedback from the end-users of the software product to the Agile team. Faster delivery cycles and consequent revenue increases can only be ensured if a greater focus is placed on getting back to the customers. The term 'customer' can also be defined as the direction in which the end product must move and therefore, the focus of the Agile team must also be directed this way. All the participants of the feedback loop must keep their internal communication open and clear so that the flow of feedback and improvement is smooth.
Adopting new accounting models can help avoid the breaks in Agile adoption that are related to the way SDLCs are financed. As the work in an Agile setup is ever-evolving and requires constant scaling of budgets, the team must also quickly adapt to these changes with the appropriate budgeting models. Using methods such as dynamic forecasting instead of annual budgeting, the accounting models can also become Agile.
ALSO READ: What Is DataOps And Why Is It Relevant?
Software Organizations Must Sharpen Their Agile Adoption
Software organizations must realize that Agile adoption is not as Herculean a task as it is made out to be by management teams. Without a comprehensive technical understanding of the practices and processes that need to be adopted under this methodology, it is hard to quell the uncertainties associated with it.
So organizations must employ the expertise of DevOps and Agile teams with years of proven work in this department. A good first step for an organization planning to shift to a more modern SDLC is to learn about Daffodil's cutting edge DevOps Services.