Agile and DevOps make Perfect Partners

A recent technology report came to a conclusion that won’t be a surprise to many of you. It seems Agile and DevOps offer more benefits when paired together at an organization compared to when they are implemented individually. This makes sense when considering DevOps grew out of a need for a better organizational structure for technology projects using Agile.

With the hopes of making your application development process more efficient, this article looks at the details of the report to find those actionable insights relevant to your software engineering organization. Good luck in your efforts!

The CA Technologies Report on Agile and DevOps

CA Technologies commissioned a study by Coleman Parkes Research to ask technology executives on how their organizations’ implementation of Agile and DevOps is transforming their business operations. The study’s lead conclusion noted that 81 percent of the surveyed executives feel Agile and DevOps are a vital aspect of their operational evolution. The study’s other insights also provide food for thought for your managerial team.

Over 80 percent of those surveyed said their organizations are currently using either Agile or DevOps. Still, only one-third of those senior executives felt either methodology was sufficiently implemented at their business. CA Technologies concluded that this highlighted a maturity gap needing to be fixed for those businesses to truly evolve their operations.

The Benefits of Mature Agile and DevOps Programs are Numerous

Companies able to successfully implement both Agile and DevOps all across their organization see numerous benefits according to the executives in the survey. Advanced Agile users are able to act on important decisions sooner than those new to the methodology. Experienced DevOps enterprises implement ideas 42 percent faster than those companies not using the organizational structure.

Adding DevOps to an organization already well-versed in Agile causes new business growth to increase by 63 percent compared to companies only doing Agile. Operational efficiency also improves by 41 percent. These last two conclusions from the study should be enough to convince most larger technology shops to combine Agile and DevOps instead of merely doing one or the other.

The survey also noted some of the leading factors preventing a company-wide implementation of Agile and DevOps. Security issues ranked as the top reason for both methodologies, followed by budgetary concerns, and the lack of integration tools. Organizational culture and resistance to change are also contributing factors.

Using Agile beyond Information Technology

The CA Technologies study also mentioned that Agile offers benefits to organizations that go beyond their IT department. Some of the surveyed executives noted their companies use Agile in the marketing (54 percent), customer service (53 percent), and sales departments (52 percent.) Finally, only six percent of the companies have implemented Agile across their entire enterprise.

Angela Tucci, CA Technologies’ general manager for Agile management summed up the survey’s conclusion. “Agile and DevOps practices lead to happier, more productive employees…which in turn leads to happier, more satisfied customers. And when Agile and DevOps are practiced together, the benefits are even better,” said Tucci.

When you need additional insights on the ever-changing software development world, come back to the Betica Blog. Thanks for your readership!

2017 Trends in Agile and DevOps

As the Agile software development methodology gets closer to its 20th anniversary, it has truly entered the mainstream, illustrated by its wide adoption at many enterprises and smaller businesses. The maturity of this application engineering practice is evidenced by novel organizational structures aimed at facilitating Agile, most notably Tribes. The growth of DevOps is another example of a business innovation – focused on collaboration – influenced by Agile.

What follows is a look at a few of the expected trends in both Agile and DevOps over the coming year. Maybe some of these ideas spark some inspiration in your own software projects?

Companies demanding Candidates with Agile Experience

A recent study from Udemy for Business, an online learning platform, noted the candidate skills most in demand at organizations in 2017. Commenting on the growth of Agile workplaces throughout many industries, Udemy forecasts that businesses desire candidates with experience working in an Agile office or on projects using the methodology. These companies also want candidates with the soft skills – strong communication, business acumen, etc. – to help them thrive in an Agile environment.

This prediction truly reveals how this methodology, first developed in the early 21st Century, squarely resides in the technology mainstream.

Agile leads to the Growth of “Citizen Developers”

There’s no denying that Agile, DevOps, and other methodology innovations made the process of software development significantly faster. One 2017 Agile trend is the growth of “citizen developers,” essentially employees working outside of a traditional IT role leveraging rapid application development (RAD) environments to quickly build software applications to serve a specific business need. Industry pundit, John Carione, commented on this trend for TechTarget.

“Agile methodologies changed how companies evaluate and implement technology. In 2017, we’ll see a new wave of Agile thinking enter the enterprise — this time with a focus on helping enterprises make strategic decisions more quickly. Employees — whether in IT, operations or a marketing department — will be able to use rapid application development and automated research tools to run quick tests and answer questions on their own. By more quickly understanding which processes and strategies are working and which are not, employees can be empowered to make intelligent decisions and adjust their business approaches on the fly,” said Carione.

Cyber Security becomes more Worrisome for DevOps Shops

IT security seems to be a constant worry for many CIOs, especially considering the growth of ransomware. Shops combining development and network operations under the DevOps moniker need to remain vigilant against hacking and other nefarious activity in 2017. This is the prediction told to TechRepublic by Reuven Harrison, CTO of the network security solution provider, Tufin.

He feels the need for compliance at many enterprises will force them to enhance their security, which may be difficult considering the rapid rate of project initiation and completion in the DevOps era. Ultimately, it is better to be safe than sorry. “We may see a major breach that gets tracked back to the DevOps approach, causing DevOps and security teams to become new best friends,” commented Harrison.

Be sure to return to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the ever changing world of software development. As always, thanks for reading!

Making Sense of Agile Metrics

Leveraging the Agile methodology offers organizations a chance to streamline their software development process; ultimately making their business more efficient. Measuring the impact of Agile on an application engineering team becomes easier with the use of metrics. The ultimate question is: what kinds of metrics offer the meaningful information and actionable insights software engineers need?

What follows is a look at some examples of useful Agile metrics and how they are able to truly make this modern methodology work for a software development shop. Perhaps your team needs to look at using them as well?

Useful Agile Metrics for Software Development

An article for Extreme Uncertainty analyzed the use of Agile metrics and offered a few insights on which ones added value to the software development process. Let’s check them out.

A Burnup Chart gives the project manager or Scrum Master a view of a project’s overall progress by displaying a graph of how many stories are completed during each iteration compared to the total number of stories in the project. This is a simple metric able to be shared with business stakeholders curious about the current status of the work.

The article author, Leon Tranter, commented on the need to fully estimate the effort of each story for the Burnup Chart to be meaningful. If that estimation hasn’t been completed, he suggests using an average for any future stories.

Metrics related to Agile Stories

Estimating the development time for stories becomes easier when using metrics aimed at tracking the work spent on these portions of a project. Story cycle time measures the period it takes for a story to go from a ready for development state to its completion. Be sure to take into account the number of resources working on a story for the most accurate view of the overall effort.

Story lead time includes the period between the creation of the story and its ultimate completion. Subtracting cycle time from lead time helps measure the effort spent in analysis.

Story count is essentially the average number of completed stories during a sprint. Once again, combining these three metrics helps to measure the efficiency of a software development team during a project. It also serves nicely when estimating the effort on future projects or sprints.

Use First Time Pass Rate to track Quality

First time pass rate is a percentage used to track the test cases that pass either system integration testing or system testing on their first try. Tranter feels this is an especially vital metric for measuring the overall maturity level of a software development team’s use of Agile. His expectation for teams familiar with Agile is a rate of 95 to 100 percent. It definitely gives teams new to the methodology a goal worth reaching.

Hopefully, this quick analysis of a few Agile metrics offered some ideas on adding them to your own team’s software process reporting. They are especially worthy of consideration for shops embracing Agile for the first time.

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for future news, stories, and insights from the rich world of software development. As always, thanks for reading!