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Author's profile photo Mahesh Gopalan

Developing for cloud – is Agile the way?

Some Background

     We live in an era where time-to-market for software has become very crucial. Changing paradigms of software consumption, opportunities in cloud, ever evolving array of devices, faster and cheaper processing capabilities, billions of users connected to internet through a plethora of devices….all these make the ‘time-to-market’ for software more important than ever before. More and more companies are embracing Agile methodologies for software development believing that the same is going to increase the efficiency of their software development processes. Thereby decreasing the time for their software to reach customers, as well as making updates available  to them faster, and sometimes without their knowledge, reacting to their changing requirements. Agile is now considered ‘cool’ and its popularity among the developers has only increased as more and more success stories come in. Agile and Scrum are now being mentioned in bold letters in project proposals and SOWs by companies in reference to their software development methodologies.

Is Agile really Cool ?

     While there are no real scientific results to prove that Agile methodologies really improve the efficiency of software development, there has been a steep rise in companies adopting it. They have gone on to create their own custom development methodologies basing on Agile and Scrum, SAP too. Agile outlines some best practices, stressing a lot on team work and responsibility and corrections through retrospections. But all these can work well only when people do justice to their roles. While the process methodology adopted for software development is important , more important will be the skill and knowledge of the people involved. A non-competent product owner or scrum master can still lead to a development failure and badly reflect on the team as well,

Agile and Cloud

     Agile works on short software development bursts making it possible to release software, get feedback and make updates in quick cycles. Cloud demands the same. Cloud computing when combined with agile software development enables faster release cycles, with specific features, in higher quality. Increased business agility is another throughput since companies can rapidly test the new ideas in marketplace ,get feedback and make changes based on customer demand with an agile development team supporting it. Companies needn’t now wait for years or months to improve their customer experiences of their products, but can be done over weeks or fortnights. Today’ s economy calls for starting businesses with less upfront investments and growing businesses through adding more and more values to customers quickly. Cloud and agile supports this. Moreover cloud can also enable accelerated agile development, providing tools and environment which make collaborative development, testing and releasing faster and easier.

Are we Agile enough ?

     It is not only about the methodology but also is about the people involved. ? As developers,  are we flexible and open to active user involvement and changing requirements during development? Can we make the right decisions and do we have the right skills and knowledge for the same? Are we good testers of what we develop? Can we work in a collaborative and cooperative environment with all our stakeholders? What is our attitude towards our fellow developers and other colleagues in the team? …and many more, Are we agile enough to embrace the agile principles ?

Agile is the way!!

     Agile development is an enjoyable and exciting approach where collaboration, visibility, quick results and feedback can provide teams with a much more rewarding experience to develop great software products. Agile development and cloud combined together can reap rich benefits. The keyword here is “fast to market” with your software, making the right features available to your customers at the right time with the right customer experience. While cloud is the channel for doing this, Agile is the way. As said earlier Agile can be enjoyable, and when we enjoy what we do there are no limits to what we can achieve!

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