Recently we polled a small group of InfoQ editors, consultants and trainers asking them for their thoughts on the state of Agile adoption and what ideas, practices or techniques are emerging or being recognised as useful at the end of 2014. This is not a scientific study, rather an informal collection of opinions.
Orta Therox, a core contributor to the CocoaPods project, last week announced that the project has now topped 1 million downloads. This announcement rounds off a year which has seen significant developments in the project and growth in its user base.
Kanban talks about limiting work in progress (WIP) as a way to manage workflow. “Limiting WIP is hard enough, but selling it can be nearly impossible” said Jim Benson. At the Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014 Conference he talked about how to convince others to limit WIP.
Last week Boxfuse announced the availability of a new release of Flyway, its open source database migration tool. Highlight is the addition of IBM DB2 z/OS, Amazon Redshift and HP Vertica to Flyway's list of supported databases, a move that expands the coverage of the "big data and big iron space." The new release also features SQL callbacks and packaged DB drivers for ease of use.
Nassim Kammah, engineer at Etsy, explained to Velocity Conference attendants how Etsy does continuous integration for mobile apps. Etsy uses a mix of automated and manual processes, still adhering to the same principles that it applies on web development and reusing many of the same tools. Nassim also talked about how Etsy handles the unique set of challenges presented by mobile apps development.
Stephen de Vries, ContinuumSecurity founder, promoted the idea of continuous and visible security at Velocity Europe 2014. Stephen argued that the same kind of processes and tools that embedded QA in the whole workflow of an agile development process can be applied to security. BDD-Security is a security testing framework that follows the Given-When-Then approach and is built on top of JBehave.
Metrics are engrained in kanban. They play a role in several kanban practices like visualizing and managing flow, and support the agenda’s for sustainability, service orientation and survivability. At the Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014 Conference Wolfgang Wiedenroth talked about the power of metrics. In his presentation he provided may examples of using metrics with kanban.
Kanban is often used to manage work, but the concepts of kanban can also be used to guide a journey of change in an organization. This is a case study of an insurance company that used kanban to get change done to improve visibility and predictability and engaging their people.
In stead of feature farming, we need to deliver better outcomes and focus on the business results that we need to deliver. Measurements should provide insight into the outcomes because that is what is important. The Mobius loop can be used to define appropriate measurements.
When organization use kanban mainly for visualization of the work they may be missing out on benefits, says Matthew Philip. Introducing a flow manager role can help teams to reflect and find solutions to the problems that they are facing, thus catalyzing change in the organization.
Sometimes organizations that are adopting agile complain that they didn't get the benefits that they expected to get out of it. One of the possible reasons could be that insufficient attention has been given to performing the technical practices that support the agile values and principles.
Blockades in work, like insufficient information, unclear requirements or having to wait for tools or systems to become available can have a systematic cause. It could be the case that similar problems that block the team keep happening until the underlying causes are addressed. You can use your blockades as treasures of improvement to sustainably improve the way work is done.
Agile software development is sometimes perceived as an undisciplined way of working. There are organizations which use that perception as an excuse to not adopt agile. According to others agile is actually a more disciplined approach than waterfall for software development. Let’s explore how discipline plays a role in agile and why discipline is considered important for agile to be successful.
Successful adoption of agile is related to the approach that is used to introduce changes in the organization. Organization can do a top down “mandated” implementation or use a different approach. Kanban can be used as a way to kick start agile, allowing teams to opt-in to agile practices when they feel ready for it to create a sustainable new way of working .