The Agile ABAPer
5 Reasons why ABAPers should be Agile – and what you can do about it today.
It’s not often a day goes by that I don’t think about how much we all learn (and forget) over the years. Over 20 years after doing a CompSci degree I might have forgotten the detail of the course but I’ve gradually evolved a hindsight from the graduation-view of “This was all useless, it doesn’t reflect reality” to the current “well that certainly grounded me in the basics but it changes so fast that we have to do all we can just to keep up with reality”. It is the skills learnt, not the facts forgotten which allows us to cope with the pace of change.
The recent hum around digital economy, transformation and lean programming within the world of SAP might not feel like it has any bearing on your day-to-day reality – fixing bugs, delivering projects on time, ensuring down-time is minimized.
But it really, really does.
Agile programming isn’t something which has only just been thought up. And even when it was still fresh it didn’t just spring out of the ground. No, it evolved from something else (anyone remember JAD/RAD?!). And you can be assured that to will evolve into something else.
What you have to keep reminding yourself is that this is not some big scary new methodology; you haven’t missed the boat. Over 20 years ago JAD and RAD, Joint and Rapid Application Development, was the cutting edge of software and systems development. Agile is an evolution, a rethink, but most of all it is a chance to orient yourself.
So I thought it would be good to answer a few of your questions without you having to ask and feel embarrassed. Which you shouldn’t ever be, by the way – questions are always good.
- Agile will decrease the pain of code rework – Each sprint will contain specific, agreed-upon capsules of work. You know what you have to deliver and you know what the criteria for successful delivery looks like.
- Agile ABAPers are happier ABAPers. You will have stronger connections with colleagues because you’ll need to cross-skill with them frequently. Each work item is now so much smaller, you will also be happier – no more weeks stretching ahead working on the same thing day after day.
You’ll get more job satisfaction because you are now empowered to work directly with with all areas of the business.
- In your Code Reviews there will be cross pollination of ideas, you’ll learn new techniques, methods and approaches.
- Development teams are happier places too – this cross-pollination drives multi-skilled developers, there is less likely to be that one Rockstar Coder who is never allowed to go on holiday for fear of it all collapsing..
- It pays to know – The Agile ABAPer earns more. OK, so I have no evidence to back this up, but we all know that counts for a lot to have a CV or a development plan which describes you as being at the cutting edge of SAP’s technologies.
- No more weekends. Before Agile the triangle of Scope, Quality and Schedule was always so inflexible that we all knew weekends would come into play because the only room for maneuver was the schedule. With agile, the flexibility comes from Scope.
Agile techniques in planning the sprint mean that if when the schedule is decided on, it is you and your peers who decide on what goes in. There are a few techniques to get to the bottom of how long a particular work item will take but Planning Poker will always get people engaged!
- Unit Test pain is significantly decreased because you’ll now use automated test techniques.
- Extended Program Check
- Code Inspector
- Coverage Analyzer
- ABAP Unit
The are just 4 of the internal tools which SAP include and maybe you didn’t think of them as being part of the Agile ABAPer’s toolkit. These and more can all make you unit testing easier. Yes, you would have to get management buy-in to get Docker or Chef used across the project but if you can explain how it will save time and money then see how fast it will get adopted then!
What you can do about it today!
- Find and Read 3 blogs on how others are using/implementing agile methodologies and share one of them on Twitter – tag your post #AgileABAPer
- Bookmark 3 pages:
- The Agile Dictionary – http://agiledictionary.com/ – Your one-stop shop for rapidly searching for that term you heard but were unsure of the context.
- Atlassian Agile – https://www.atlassian.com/agile – Atlassian being the owners of JIRA, the go-to agile work centre for many businesses (and yes, even Basis Technologies, where I work!). Invaluable in making sprint planning, execution and backlog an easier, intuitive part of your day.
- DevOps.com – http://devops.com/ – Every day a new story, a new viewpoint on the future of DevOps-driven technology. Not SAP specifically, but it doesn’t hurt to expand our horizons right?
- Talk to your manager or better still, whoever does your annual review about agile. Get their thoughts, share your own. Get something Agile put on your review objectives.
Please do comment below too – if you have any great blogs or twitter feeds which keep us on the top of our game then the community will all gain from this knowledge share.