Agile projects can ‘fall flat’, says expert

According to Director of Product Marketing at Panaya, Ronit Eliav, by keeping pace with innovation, delivering immediate results and adopting a continuous delivery model, digital transformation requires IT organisations to become businesses enablers.

To ensure value is “maximised” throughout development processes, agile development uses a process of continuous planning and feedback. Although, according to Eliav, it doesn’t always deliver “expected results”.

Here are her “six common ways agile projects can fall flat”:

Unsustainable system architecture – “Without a formal design process, code can be layered on top of older code until the end result is a design that’s inflexible.  The Agile Manifesto did not include – perhaps intentionally – the definition of systems architecture. The design can be coherent during a sprint planning meeting, but it may lack a formal architectural model that result in long term sustainability.”

Limitations of existing tools – “Agile methodologies are often limited by existing tools. Today’s Enterprise Application Lifecycle Management market is dominated by monolithic, on premise solutions that were designed with a “waterfall” delivery approach in mind and lack key elements of agile delivery methodology. While the software development industry has moved on to a best of breed approach with agile tools such as Jira and Jenkins, these tools were designed for professional developers and not for the needs of the enterprise IT organisation. In the world of digital transformation and continuous delivery of innovation, the enterprise has been left behind.”

Culture gap – “Some developers who are accustomed to working autonomously may find that all the collaboration required with agile development slows them down. You don’t want to alienate knowledge experts and force them to change their work style to adjust to a highly collaborative methodology if they require a great deal of freedom.”

Difficulty scaling up – “Agile is a methodology that traditionally has been popular with small and medium sized organisations, but recently has become more mainstream in large enterprises.  Larger projects that are dispersed through several teams at different locations can be difficult to manage with an agile methodology.  Without a consistent approach across locations and collaboration tools with visibility into real time status of test cycles distributed over several development and testing teams, bottlenecks can occur which can result in project delays and cost overruns.”

Not the right type of project – “Traditional methods (like waterfall) work best on projects that are on both ends of the spectrum; clear and fixed requirements that are well established or a new technology or approach with no previous user base that can provide valid feedback. Project managers need to evaluate projects to analyse if a smaller number of developers working autonomously might be a more suitable and cost effective solution for projects that fall somewhere in the middle.”

Bogged down by collaboration – When teams use the right tools to work together, they often make improvements in both the process and the final outcome, making the teams stronger and more productive. Agile methodologies emphasise the value of collaboration and rapid feedback. However, communication and coordination is often difficult due to logistics, locations and timing. An end-to-end communication framework for agile team collaboration is essential to help people work together more effectively.”

Eliav also concluded that agile development in the right circumstances enables organisations to release high quality software that changes rapidly to drive businesses forward, and that success requires collaboration, transparency and real-time visibility into project risk and quality.

“Given the right conditions and tools, IT teams can implement agile development methodologies that boost the bottom line,” she added.

Written from press release by Leah Alger

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