Essential Steps to Become Agile - Part 5
April 12, 2017

DEVOPSdigest asked experts across the industry — including analysts, consultants and vendors — for their opinions on the best way for a development or DevOps team to become more Agile. Part 5, the final installment in this series, provides tips on empowering people.

Start with Essential Steps to Become Agile - Part 1

Start with Essential Steps to Become Agile - Part 2

Start with Essential Steps to Become Agile - Part 3

Start with Essential Steps to Become Agile - Part 4

GET EACH TEAM MEMBER INVOLVED

Ask the people who are doing the work how to make it more efficient. Agility should come from the bottom up. Applying any methodology blindly is a mistake and will be met with resistance. One form of Agile methodology does not fit all. What works for developers doesn't always work for operations. So within each group, find the tools best suited to automate the kind of work they already do.
Lucas Carlson
SVP, Strategy, Automic Software

The best way for a development team, DevOps team or IT organization to be more Agile is by embracing the TOGETHER concept in any aspect of the work cycle − learning, planning, designing, developing, testing, integrating, etc. Every individual in an Agile team matters and for this reason, it is the team leader's job to make sure that every team member is aligned with the team's goals and commitments, sees the big picture, and understands how their individual work is integrated into the overall efforts.
Yossi Shirizli
VP R&D, Correlsense

AUTONOMY

Often organizations are so afraid of making a mistake, that they won't bestow autonomy on their teams. In order to become truly Agile, you need to be willing to distribute responsibility among self-organized teams and give them the latitude to fail — fail fast — and to learn from their failure and rapidly improve. This is the basic tenant of agility.
Benjamin Wesson
Head of Product Management, BigPanda

EDUCATION

People, by nature, are resistant to change. The shift from traditional waterfall development to Agile software development will meet with some form of resistance. Development leaders must counter the natural fear, uncertainty and doubt with education that highlights the new opportunities that will arise. Educate and disseminate Agile kits to the team. These will include templates, models, and how-to guides for the new tools. Provide a leadership opportunity for the top implementers/owners of the waterfall process. One again, this approach will reduce fear, uncertainty and doubt that inevitably comes with change.
Paul Mansfield
CTO, iQuate

Many organizations still suffer from inefficient software development because they may have forgotten one of the key value tenets of Agile which is "individuals and interactions" over "processes and tools." When the stakeholders contributing to the software can't collaborate easily, and processes don't flow smoothly, one of the first actions an organization can take is to educate using Agile principles. The second piece of the puzzle is tool chain and process traceability to measure your value streams from plan-to-ops quickly identify bottlenecks and provide feedback to stakeholders. This allows organizations to adhere to another Agile tenet of responding to change over following a plan.
Eric Robertson
VP DevOps Product Engineering, CollabNet

COMMUNICATE THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE

When adopting or improving upon Agile process, communicate both the positive and negative impacts on your organization. In the end, the pros should outweigh the cons, but too often the downsides are overlooked. This is especially true when those negative effects are felt outside the development team, for example when more time is required from stakeholders.
Matt Bridges
CTO, Intrepid

CROSS TRAINING

Development teams will become more Agile when they cross train for functions that typically reside in other organizations. Continuous development and DevOps rely on the smooth transition from development to QA to staging to production. The development team and other members of the IT organization must be able to transition from one development cycle state to the next without having the traditional waterfall handoff seen in legacy development structures. This means the team members will stay with a project throughout its full lifecycle and must be competent enough to provide value at each stage.
Frank Yue
Director of Application Delivery Solutions, Radware

DATA = BETTER DECISION MAKING

Enable each team member to make sound and trusted decisions by putting as much data in their hands as possible.
Keen Browne
Co-Founder and Head of Product, Bonsai

Speed and agility go hand in hand with the software-driven business. But there are practical challenges in our hyper-connected world with ever-changing marketplace demands and rapid-pace technological advances. Accordingly, information that is organized and analyzed efficiently can help IT professionals make faster as well as better decisions. Since every digital action and transaction traverses a network, either physical, virtual or hybrid, traffic data offers the most coherent source of application and service insight. Using a single platform to tap into traffic data and complementary sources like NetFlow and synthetic transactions, the IT organization can rapidly analyze performance from any perspective: infrastructure, application and user. This kind of contextual analysis leverages a complete understanding of application and service delivery interdependencies, so that performance problems from the lab to the production environment can be solved at the speed of business.
Ron Lifton
Senior Enterprise Solutions Manager, NetScout