Digital business runs at a frenetic pace and requires the perfect alignment between information systems and business strategies: this is why software development must be agile. It means it should be able to quickly create and deploy efficient applications in response to the needs of internal and external users.
Digital business requires speed
Especially in such a time of profound economic uncertainty, with unpredictable implications for businesses and society, companies need to be flexible to react promptly to change. Information Technology is the engine supporting digital enterprise, providing the keys to optimize processes and accelerate their offer of value services.
However, the responses of the information team do not always keep pace with the lines of business. The result is a dangerous disconnection that could drastically affect the company's performance.
According to a 2019 survey by Gartner, interviewing a world sample of project managers, only the 55% of products are launched on schedule, while the 45% is released after the deadline, at least one month later. In the field of software development, every slightest delay can have huge costs. Customers (corporate or external) are increasingly demanding, while the market requires sudden changes of direction: the application requirements serve to satisfy contingent needs, but they may no longer be valid in the shorter term.
There is no margin for error, and any failure must occur quickly to be ready to reverse course. In short, it is necessary to navigate by sight, but still, guarantee the effectiveness of the digital services released. "Do more with less" should be the mantra for any digitized company, so that developers can offer quality applications, minimizing release times and the resources used.
What Agile development calls for
The Agile methodologies propose an alternative approach to the more traditional waterfall model. The aim at the release of applications according to the quality, functionality and speed requirements expressed by the customer.
The Agile principles, collected in a Manifesto published in 2001, can be summarized as follows:
- setting up of small multi-disciplinary and self-organized teams;
- iterative and incremental development - the project is divided into repetitive and sequential cycles, each with a Quick Win, which brings an improvement to the project and allows progress to the next stage;
- empiricism- each product increment is released and tested directly by users
- adaptive planning - work is organized flexibly, based on the feedback received
- continuous customer engagement in the development process.
Why you need an agile approachIt is clear how the listed principles can contribute to achieving the goal, namely the fast delivery of a functional application - able to meet the expressed needs - and functioning - high-performance and quality.
The creation of small groups, strongly focused, allows to reach the highest quality on specific software functions relying on specialized skills. Furthermore, working in a few, autonomously and flexibly, allows you to maximize performance and commitment, at a team and individual component level.
Working for cycles and intermediate objectives mean guaranteeing faster releases, which allow for immediate software improvements without having to wait for the final release. Customers can immediately benefit from the new features and improvements, with the ability to "straighten the route" during construction.
The empirical approach and continuous dialogue with users allow in fact to obtain direct and quick feedback on the work completed, mitigating the risks of failure. If something does not work, the development team has the opportunity to isolate the error thanks to the feedback received and mend it. It would be different to wait months to get directly to the single final release and - only then - realize that you have made a mistake: the waste of time and resources would seriously affect the company budget.
Therefore, because of the massive advantages allowed, the Agile methodologies will rightly play an increasingly important role in software development.