Magazine / Agile Software Factory
Apr 1, 2021 11:15:00 AM

IT Delivery Gap: what it is and how to overcome it with agile development

The IT Delivery Gap, or the delta between actual business needs and the services provided by the information team, is a critical issue that has a significant impact on the productivity of the entire organization. Agile and DevOps methodologies can fill the gap allowing developers to meet user requests and expectations in the most appropriate time and methods.

 

What is IT Delivery Gap?

Digital business is running at an unprecedented pace, forcing companies to find faster and more effective answers to market needs. The ability of information systems to rapidly provide services according to business requests, therefore becomes a must-factor for success.

However, achieving alignment between delivery IT and business needs is not obvious and often creates a rift that separates the needs of the company from the response effectiveness of the information team. IT Delivery Gap, in fact, is a frequent and growing phenomenon, as some recent statistics reveal. The data shows that only half of IT decision-makers were able to complete all the projects they were assigned within a year. 60% admitted that they did not have adequate resources to achieve their company's digital goals, with negative repercussions on profits. The “time” factor has been singled out as the main cause of failure.

The picture is not surprising: the mantra of "to do with less" is imposed on Information Systems, and this means the obligation to get more results by reducing the number of resources and investments available. Completing IT projects at the speed required by the business, having to manage the complexity of a very rapid technological evolution, becomes a gigantic undertaking, especially if operated with reduced assets. The continuous progress of IT solutions and the rapid emergence of new trends make it difficult to find specialized skills, helping to widen the gap between service delivery and business needs. The need to tighten project completion times, pushes the IT team in many cases to takedangerous shortcuts, which could compromise the efficiency and effectiveness of the solutions released. In the future, even more advanced technological development is expected, with an increasingly demanding business and an IT team struggling to meet new digital demands.

Hence the urgency to find a new approach to the management of IT initiatives, which allows to make the most of existing resources and accelerate the development of projects, increasing collaboration with the business.

 

Agile method against the It Delivery Gap

Agile methodologies can offer an effective response to ensure application delivery in line with user expectations and the needs of the organization. The term indicates, in fact, a set of techniques that allow to speed up the process of making a product, dividing the workflow into short and frequent cycles. We proceed step by step repeating the same sequence of operations and progressing from time to time to the next stage of the project, until the final goal is reached. An iterative (based on repetition) and incremental (additive and progressive) approaches are therefore followed.

Each block of activity ends with a release and empirical verification (based on real user experience) of the results obtained. Thus it is possible to accelerate the response capacity of developers to business requests and have immediate proof of the effectiveness of the interventions carried out. For example, to make an important change to the software we proceed with small improvements released consequentially; at each release it can be verified whether what has been done has allowed to satisfy the users' needs. If so, it will be possible to continue on the same path, otherwise a change will be surely conceivable.

The Agile approach, in short, allows companies to speed up the development cycle and fail quickly to straighten the shot: the IT team is therefore more likely to respect delivery times and at the same time improve the quality of the software, immediately going to correct any errors that are therefore not passed on to the next step.

The DevOps practice, which prescribes a series of methods to encourage collaboration between Developers and Operations within an Agile project, enhances the effectiveness of iterative and incremental development by bringing IT and business closer. The It team is divided into small specialized and coordinated groups. Thanks to the DevOps approach, developers receive user feedback on needs, wishes and results much faster. This provides a further boost to accelerate the closure of projects and reduce the IT Delivery Gap, releasing more performing applications and contributing to business success.

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