The need for an accelerated time-to-market for business applications forces IT development teams to become agile. But being agile is not enough.

Current european Agile conferences show quite clearly what the agile community has to offer 2014/15: Old but well conceived methods and numerous new tools to help implementing those methods. Our interest focus was to find out what agile development means for large projects in the field of business application development, where 38% fail completely, 52% of them are challenged and only 10% are successful [1][2].

The current state of Agile

While developing agile is a must for IT people today, managers are still learning what “agile” means. Agile consultants are eager to close this gap, while IT people, already utilizing digital kanban boards alongside with velocity and performance reports, focus on a different one: How can we deliver our products agile as well?

Time for a tech change: The web is your lab

While it is common for website or mobile app development teams to release every other week, business application developers usually only can dream of such a time to market. One of the reasons for this is that they stick to their technology. If you ask software project leaders working on their products – often resembling company know-how as well as technology of several decades – why they don’t make it a web application, the answer is most likely, “Because that would mean to lose twenty years of development!”.

Time for a roll-out change: Lean thinking and complexity

Leaving the solution stack unchanged is just one part of the problem. Another velocity slowdown is the complex nature of business applications. Even if the actual change to the application itself doesn’t involve great efforts, there is still a long and winding road to go with test-iterations and staged roll-outs until a new version is out. Lean thinking needs to extend to those areas as well.

Time for a culture change: Agile is not about speed

Agile is about being successful at all. And Agile is about a cultural change that helps you to get rid of unnecessary red tape. A successful transition to a lean & agile development will definitely help to deliver with a greater success.

Conclusion of 2014’s Agile conferences: Lessons learned

Agile is first and foremost about change. Becoming agile will accelerate your time to market if you have agile development supported by:

 

  1. technology that allows for the implementation of changes fast
  2. release cycles at the same pace of your development sprints
  3. and a value driven company culture


If you manage to align those three transitions towards Agile the chance to succeed and accelerate your time to market is high.