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!

News from the Worlds of Software Development and QA – November 2016

Welcome to this month’s look at a few interesting news stories from the worlds of Software Development and Quality Assurance. Last month, we covered Microsoft Teams – Redmond’s attempt to enter the enterprise social communication space dominated by Slack. November’s collection of news stories hopefully offers a few insights to apply to your daily work routine.

Without further adieu, here is the news!

Enterprises still struggling with Agile Software Development

An article in ZDNet from mid November takes a look at how enterprises are still finding it difficult to implement Agile as their software development methodology. The story is based off of a recent podcast between Santiago Comella-Dorda, Roberta Fusaro, and Gerard Speksnijder, all from the management consulting firm, McKinsey.

A main cause of problems is the large number of legacy systems in production at most enterprises. This makes it harder for their software project teams to be as nimble as required by Agile. Gerard Speksnijder commented on how this core issue isn’t present at startups or smaller firms.

“(Startups) don’t have the application-architecture legacy. There are no monolith applications. Everything typically is being defined in a pretty modular fashion, with lots of microservices, APIs, which allows you to make changes to the specific component of the application architecture. You can test it and release those features quite fast and without having lots of dependencies on other parts of your application landscape,” said Speksnijder.

The McKinsey analysts feel starting small, and using a product-based model, helps larger companies successfully implement Agile. They recently published a four-point program aimed at bringing Agile to the Enterprise. It is worth a perusal if your larger firm hopes to take advantage of this modern software development methodology.

DevOps is the Key for Success with Agile

Agile is definitely all over the IT news this month. CIO magazine published a piece describing the successful Agile implementation at Fannie Mae. A major factor in their success was an organizational structure based on DevOps.

A commitment to automation and a Continuous Deployment model for software delivery also played an important role. Using a racing metaphor, Fannie Mae CIO Frederic Veron described how DevOps helped his team achieve new benchmarks by doubling its software output over the last 18 months.

“If you do agile without DevOps, it’s like you’re trying to race with a tractor instead of a car. You can go and do the laps but it’s not going to go very fast, you’re probably going to consume a lot of fuel and it won’t be a lot of fun,” commented Veron. A software enhancement that used to take nine months is now fully implemented in 10 weeks using the Agile methodology, automated tools, and a DevOps organizational structure.

Needless to say, large and medium-sized companies need to consider switching to a DevOps structure at the same time they embrace Agile.

Well, this month’s post featured two valuable news stories from the trenches of the corporate software development world, as they try to leverage Agile for the purpose of faster software delivery. Starting with a small pilot program or completely restructuring your organization to a DevOps model raises your chances of success.

Stay tuned to upcoming editions of the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the evolving world of software development. Thanks for reading.