Illustration by Bruce Morser
You’ve heard about the wonderful world of agile delivery, but do you know how to actually realize its benefits and unlock the treasure trove of innovation, ideas and enthusiasm in your IBM i teams? Although agile is independent of technology, adopting it in the IBM i on Power Systems* environment presents a few unique challenges.
Teams work better, are happier and more motivated when in control of their work and the way in which it’s done. Enabling self-organizing and self-improving teams is a key humanizing aspect of agile delivery.
The way that teams and infrastructure have evolved and the accompanying specialization of skills and functions point to a pressing need for practices and tools that can put you on the right path to better and faster application development.
The new economic reality in most IT shops is to essentially “do more with less.” But “do more” doesn’t mean more maintenance or infrastructure work; it means more business value.
You’re being asked to react more quickly to changing requirements and deal with more complex application architectures involving Web and mobile components. The changes required will typically span many technologies and systems, with IBM i at the epicenter as the backbone of your application. How can you analyze, plan, coordinate, develop, build, validate and track all of this better and faster than before?
It’s all about making the most of your valuable assets—people, systems and tools—to produce the most value for your customers. Thankfully, best practices, tools and experts can help you.
How to Become Agile
Agile delivery requires a mindset adjustment—and it’s not always easy to make the changes in thinking required, given the decades of adherence to the traditional waterfall model and organizational structures that evolved to service that model. It’s also a mistake to believe that you can become truly agile just by changing your processes and mindset. The demands on the tools you use for every aspect of delivery become greater—I’ll get to that shortly, but for now let’s focus on the process.
In 2001, the Agile Manifesto laid out four simple value statements about a shift to a better way of delivering software. What does it mean in practice? Let’s review the most highly valued practices that result from applying these principles.
At the top of the list must be the early and continuous delivery of valuable software. A lot of content is packed into that very short phrase, so let’s tease it apart a bit. Early delivery encapsulates the principle that working software is a better measure of progress and value than documentation. However, delivering frequently at a sustainable pace is the real game changer here.