Enterprise Agile practices have been revolutionary in the space of DevOps and designing innovative solutions. Organizations are engaging in Agile transformation across industries, to gain access to their core advantages. Research from McKinsey & Co shows that 70% of Agile companies rank in the top quartile of organizational performance and health.
Agile is enabling rapid prototyping and the consistent launch of consumer-focused features while reducing cost and overheads. It’s allowing companies to become nimbler in their approach while leveraging core lean and sprint practices.
Agile has also been instrumental in bringing about real digital transformation through the introduction of dynamic development of solutions. When contrasted with waterfall, Agile is seen as a favourable methodology to develop innovative technological solutions at scale. By aligning resources towards this more flexible model, it’s allowing companies to truly uncover new avenues of growth.
With the rising popularity of the Agile model, there have been many emerging trends in the technology domain. Tools and solutions are being developed to bring the philosophy to life as more companies adopt Agile as a foundational pillar. Companies are also leaning towards sophisticated Scrum software management packages to better handle larger teams and greater scope of work. While the principles of Agile have remained the same, the technology used has evolved in 2019.
More user-friendly Agile PM tools
The technological learning curve while using Agile tools has been traditionally steep, which is why developers have been designing more user-friendly interfaces. They are taking the complexity out of core features such as Kanban boards, Task-sheets, Bug trackers, and Product road mapping. This is making the adoption of Agile much more streamlined as more developers start to have an instinct for using the project management tool incorporated.
Companies are looking at new tools and solutions to streamline their Agile practices. They’re working with advanced solutions providers to manage shifting trends and changing priorities.
This is supported by data from the “13th Annual State Of Agile Report” published by VersionOne. About 69% of Agile companies leverage it to manage change, with 65% using the solution to enhance project visibility.
More companies are moving away from unstructured data tools in 2019, towards cloud-based solutions to gain critical competitive advantages. While everything from unit testing to refactoring can be done in silos, it’s best to work with sophisticated tools that offer a unified dashboard. 2019 is emerging as a significant year of developments, especially when it comes to the capabilities of these tools.
Key technological solutions, such as JIRA and Version One, are coming out with new features regularly, it also has thriving communities based around multiple industries that are providing critical support to Agile developers, which is enhancing the adoption of Agile from a technological and strategic perspective as well.
Greater emphasis on cybersecurity
From a technological perspective, cybersecurity is emerging as the clear need of the hour when it comes to Agile development. With the rapid nature of incoming feedback and outgoing features/designs, there needs to be a more secure infrastructure covering the process. A coherent cybersecurity framework must be implemented to become more successful at executing Agile principles.
Project managers, developers, clients, and customers must be able to interact with one another using best in class encryption techniques, with regular pen-testing and red-hat workshops. Chief information security officers (CISOs) must be able to deploy the latest technological solutions to ensure that there is a safety net designed to protect all stakeholders.
Sprints are being designed, using best practices, within the organization to detect the cyber-readiness of the organization. CISOs are increasingly conducting workshops to enhance employee understanding about cyber threats, along with managing the flow of information through integrated dashboards, which is enhancing the overall scope of the cybersecurity domain when it comes to Agile.
Additionally, more clients are asking for greater cybersecurity measures. It is a necessary technological requirement when it comes to remaining compliant with governing regulations. GDPR, PCI DSS, and HIPAA are some of the major compliance frameworks that require some form of cybersecurity measures to be in place when developing software that handles sensitive information.
SAFe is emerging as increasingly popular
While SAFe and Scrum/Scrum of Scrums are the most popular Agile frameworks, SAFe is emerging as a leader in markets such as Australia. Data from Deloitte’s Agile predictions for Australia show that SAFe (28%) and Scrum/Scrum of Scrums (27%) are leading the way. The analysis also indicates that internally created mechanisms are also on the rise, which is consistent with real market practices of adapting the leading frameworks to your specific organization.
2019 might be the year of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as it captures a broader scope of prospective stakeholders. The framework considers the entire organization while providing insights on project management, team collaboration, and product development. Scrum is being a tool for smaller teams to work on, while SAFe maybe perceived to be a more effective tool for scaled development. In a leading market for enterprise agility like Australia, various teams are using SAFe to execute projects more efficiently.
SAFe has also been successful in defining the roles of development teams better. From a technological standpoint, teams have greater access to core insights that can enhance the value of the solution designed.
The expansion of Agile business intelligence (BI)
There are various teams spread across multichannel networks, as more companies adopt Agile as their core practice, which opens up the need for Agile business intelligence, so that all insights and data sets are housed inside one comprehensive dashboard. Stakeholders can have access to these insights at any point during the development lifecycle, with cloud-enabled data storage running the backend.
Research from Forrester suggests that application development and delivery (AD&D) teams align themselves together from an organizational perspective. This enables greater cross-disciplinary collaboration and an increase in the flow of information. Agile BI also, therefore, reduces the time to show results while cutting costs significantly for organizations.
While traditional business intelligence tools have been used for generations, 2019 is seeing a new wave of Agile BI solutions. Businesses can then make decisions that much faster while having all the necessary information from a technological perspective. Both “time-to-value” and “time-to-change” are greatly optimized using Agile BI, as organizations emerge leaner over time.
Communication is greatly enhanced as well, as more companies encourage insights from across the board. Using a single dashboard to manage interactions, project management & design, is aiding firms to experiment with more innovative features for customers.
Greater technological adoption of automation
While the principles of Agile follow continuous development and delivery, automation is a core enabler of that philosophy. That’s why many companies are turning towards automation platforms to conduct bug testing, communication tracking, and feature releases. It’s making the job of the engineers much easier, owing to the benefits gained from automation.
As more data is being introduced into the development cycle, products are being iterated upon regularly. Automated tools are helping track the changes being made to the product while enabling organizations to become leaner. It’s freeing resources that were originally locked into manual systems of checking, analysis and testing.
Automation is also driving down the cost of development, which is why it’s being adopted rapidly in 2019. It’s being seen as a bridge between DevOps and Agile, which is why it’s extensively leveraged across the product development lifecycle. Teams can collaborate that much more effectively when there is a base setup of automation present in the project.
Continuous delivery is evolving, with the help of automation being introduced into the Agile organization. The role of the scrum master and project manager is, therefore, changing, with more emphasis being given to value-driven innovation. From a technological standpoint, projects are being designed much more rapidly, in part due to increased automation of non-core processes.
The rise of AI and ML in Agile
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been incorporated in IT projects around the world, owing to their flexibility and scale-driven architecture. In the case of Agile, it’s helping teams become more productive, through the power of iterative testing and AI-enabled processing.
When it comes to debugging, error flagging, and testing, AI is helping larger teams speed up their checks and processes. It’s also assisting companies to prototype rapidly through the processing capabilities of AI. Feedback and communication can be introduced back into the system much faster when working with AI systems.
Coding based assistants also use machine learning to identify critical patterns inside datasets. This can help deliver critical insights that drive new feature development in upcoming iterations. Developers have access to a broader range of insights, which can be tested across multiple teams across the world.
Another area where machine learning enhances Agile practices is through precise estimation. Machine learning can help developers get precise data points from past user stories and incorporate them into new iterations. AI and ML are aiding Agile in a holistic manner, with more companies integrating these core technologies this year. These technology solutions are driving greater adoption of Agile, with 2019 being a growth year for its adoption.
Written by Sanchit Khera