Agile philosophy has been around since the early 2000’s, but a little under half of big businesses have yet to adopt the system. Whether you’ve been using agile for years already, or are just beginning to adopt, you’ve likely encountered some challenges. Although agile was created by developers in order to make software development operations, or “DevOps” more efficient, many find difficulty with this change due the fact that it really is radically different than traditional methods like waterfall.
Overcoming the challenges that arise with integrating into a new system sometimes makes the boost in efficiency feel lackluster, but using agile will truly feel more effective; not to mention, it’s definitely becoming the new normal. Do any of these challenges sound familiar? If so, check out our advice to overcome them.
One of the most important features of agile is communication. If you’re in the first stages of implementation, keep in mind that agile’s structure makes it easy to implement in stages. For example, your IT department might use the practical tools of agile before you expand the methodologies unilaterally. When preparing your team for a switch to agile, it’s best to frame the change in a way that stokes their passion for innovation while also stressing that this change is a process that can happen incrementally, that fosters communication, and allows for questions.
Once you’re in the throes of agile, you know that there are two methods for handing the increased dialogue presented by agile: Scrum or Kanban. Scrum is a more restrictive method that implements daily meetings between developers and weekly meetings of the entire team, including the product owner. Teams work in sprints, completing small, connected projects in short amounts of time.
Kanban, on the other hand, visualizes that communication in the form of a publicly posted board. This process also sets limitations on the amount of work in progress at any given time as an attempt to actively chart, monitor, and improve workflow. Although both options can support your team effectively, you might find that one is more beneficial. For tech business, arguably the largest adopters of agile, the scrum method is more effective because you’re working on a concrete project. Where as those in retail and marketing might prefer Kanban because it allows employees to see everyone’s workload for increased collaboration. For example, Jesse can see when James is free to edit her press release, etc.
When leading a project using an agile workflow, remember that the traditional triangle method of managing waterfall projects must be flipped on its head in the new agile system. Before, time and resources were unfixed details and the scope of work to be completed was a fixed, agreed upon detail. But, agile challenges the philosophy. Because the backbone of agile is flexibility, and delivery happens continuously, agile happens almost outside of time. Helping your team understand time as a static variable, while scope becomes dynamic, is crucial here. In initial transitions, it’s best to overestimate sprint timeframes and allow your team to take the extra steps they need to understand the new methodology, so they can feel confident completing their work. Agile’s principles reflect this by stating, “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.”
Communication is important to the agile methodology and when your team is spread out, meeting in person regularly can be difficult. Although, that all depends on how you handle your agile workflow in the cloud. Utilizing the cloud for agile DevOps for your team is smart because it keeps things accessible for all parties and the fortunate thing about agile is that it can be tweaked to meet your company’s needs. Maintaining a global presence has led many companies to distribute their workforce, and the result of this doesn’t have to be a lack of efficiency. When using agile, the recommendation is to still employ face-to-face communication through video chats as often as possible, and stimulate transparency by using an agile-friendly workflow management system in the cloud.
However, this means software integration. What’s really going to cripple the transition is if the new solutions and tools the team needs to function don’t work or present a security risk. The only way to make sure that doesn’t happen is through quality assurance testing, but with so much to do, your own team may not be ready to test the new environment before they even feel comfortable in it. This might mean hiring an agnostic partner to test and integrate your new software for you will be easier for your team. At iLAB, we understand the needs of an international business, because we are one. With offices in the UK, US, Australia, and South Africa, we have the range of experience and expertise to help you optimize your DevOps through secure and functional tools that support the Agile methodology.