Businesses across the globe are experiencing a cloud technology boom like we’ve never seen. They're looking for the cost and speed benefits cloud brings to a business. But cloud also empowers development teams to adopt an Agile methodology to better leverage technology and react to customer needs faster.
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WATCH: Mattias Andersson, Senior Developer Advocate at Pluralsight, shares his tips to maximize a cloud investment.
Definition: What is Agile methodology?
Agility is the ability to move quickly through, around, and over obstacles. In the outside world, it’s commonly used to describe athletes as they dodge opponents to achieve a goal. But the same principles apply in Agile practices. It all boils down to “why go through the mountain if you can go around it faster?”
The Manifesto for Agile Software Development outlines its core tenets as:
INDIVIDUALS AND INTERACTIONS over processes and tools
WORKING SOFTWARE over comprehensive documentation
CUSTOMER COLLABORATION over contract negotiation
RESPONDING TO CHANGE over following a plan
What qualities define an Agile methodology?
People are your number one asset. Full stop. It doesn’t matter that you have the latest gadget or the most expensive tool. Without people, your departments fail. But many technology leaders don't recognize the opportunities within their team dynamics.
Agile methodologies are powerful because they empower your team to empower your customers. A team that believes in an Agile methodology:
- Checks their egos at the door
- Embraces change
- Communicates effectively
- Implements constructive feedback quickly
These practices also increase engagement in your team.
Let results dictate your leaderboard
When working software is the primary measure of progress, your team is more responsive, more inventive, and more successful. Agile methodology shifts your KPIs towards working software and shifts your team’s mindset. They’re more collaborative and welcome feedback that drives the solution forward. They’re automatically engaging more with each other and your customers, meaning you’re likely to see less turnover and more likely to see greater customer satisfaction.
Develop their skills like they develop solutions
An Agile methodology prioritizes continuous attention to technical excellence and good design because it enhances agility. Or, said another way, when your team knows their stuff, they are more efficient and effective. We get it; you’re busy with billable projects, and learning tools cost money.
Did you know, though, that 91% of your technologists want to improve their tech skills? Investing in a learning or upskilling program costs on the front end, sure. But the ROI comes when your projects get done faster, customer satisfaction skyrockets and your team can handle more technical requests. Not to mention the lower turnover you get when your people feel valued and supported to grow!
Learn more about upskilling needs for your technology team in our 2022 State of Upskilling Report.
Be adaptable to change
Just because it isn’t broken doesn’t mean there’s not still a better way to do it. An Agile methodology is designed to be iterative and allow users to experiment with new ways of doing things. It’s important, especially in the technology industry, to plan for things to change at the drop of a hat. A new cyber threat could emerge tomorrow. Customer needs may change. You need a system that gives your team the freedom to adapt on the fly to:
Requests from your customer
Customers don’t care whether your software meets the requirements; they only care whether it solves their problems. And here’s a spoiler: requirements docs don’t always capture all that’s required to actually solve the real problems. Scope creep can be frustrating for any team. But it’s also inevitable. Your customers may want changes because of market changes, competitive research, or shifting priorities. An Agile methodology gives your development team that freedom.
When you shift your software development model from traditional sequence-based phases to iterative sprints, it’s easier to implement customer change requests throughout the full development lifecycle and adapt to their needs.
Insights from your team
It’s easy to get lost in long projects. You start with an end result in mind, but at the end you realize you missed the mark by a mile. An Agile methodology requires that your development team regularly reflects on how to be more effective, then adjust their own behavior accordingly. This leads to more collaborative and innovative teams. They self-organize—strategizing together to reach the best end result and tackling the tasks that best align with their skills. This creates a constant feedback loop to determine how their team, project, or end result needs to change based on past performance.
Focus on the goal
There is one measure for success in Agile development: does the software work for the client now and for the future? The whole purpose of Agile’s iterative and experimental process is to deliver functional software on time and on budget. That starts with setting clear goals and expectations with your customers.
If you don’t know what the end product needs to do (and why) how can you expect your team to deliver a functional product? Or worse, how do you know if you have the right skillset on your team to deliver that product at all?
Without clear goals and a tight feedback loop, your team can hit all your benchmarks and still reach the wrong destination.
Break down the three biggest barriers to developing your in-house talent.
How does cloud technology enhance an Agile methodology?
Agile methodology breaks down long, drawn-out software development plans into smaller goals that build on each other. Cloud technology also lets you build on previous work by using the work of others. Cloud platform vendors developed a series of building blocks that are universal and can be used to build new products and environments faster and with less capital. So your teams don’t constantly reinvent the wheel.
Cloud technology increases speed to product
Cloud technology removes physical barriers for developers. They don’t need to wait for physical servers to start or continue work, and they’re not limited to one server per developer, either. Instead, developers can use the same, or lower, budget to spin up a more faithful environment, but tear it down (i.e. stop paying for it) when it’s not needed. Cloud technology also allows your developers to work with multiple environments to test and compare different versions of code at the same time.
Once you have a functional product, the cloud makes it easy to scale to thousands of users without having to build out your own IT infrastructure.
Cloud technology decreases development cost
It’s easier to manage costs when using cloud technology. You don’t need to buy servers or other infrastructure, up front, to be able to create the initial product. And when you go live, cloud technology lets you scale elastically to match your actual demand—so capacity planning is for budget projection, not make-or-break for your system’s ability to operate.
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