Agile Software Development Will Shape the Future of AI and Machine Learning
November 09, 2023

Damian Winczewski
STX Next

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has become widespread in businesses across virtually every sector, and the rapid pace of adoption is showing no signs of relenting. Research by McKinsey suggests that AI could enable automation of up to 70% of business activities between now and 2030.

AI's Impact on Business

The McKinsey report estimates that generative AI alone could add the equivalent of between $2.6 trillion and $4.4 trillion annually across the 63 use cases that it analyzed in its research. Generative AI is just one aspect of the technology that has become well-known; AI's capabilities and its subsequent impact on business are far broader.

Its widespread adoption is predicted to accelerate the pace of workforce transformation across industries, with estimates that half of today's work activities could be automated between 2030 and 2060, a decade earlier than previous estimates. To keep pace with this growing industry, software development will be central to the efforts of many businesses.

This will no doubt require investment to support developers and direct efforts to maintain and support high levels of productivity. Flexible methodologies will play a pivotal role in ensuring sustained growth and innovation in AI and ML. The adaptability and customer-centricity of an Agile approach can drive technological progress, providing the basis for continued development of new AI and ML applications.

Agile in AI and ML

Agile methodologies have long been a driving force in software development. The core attributes of this approach align perfectly with the principles that underpin AI and ML, especially given the rapid evolution of these technologies.

Agile enables teams to respond to change, iterate quickly, and deliver value to users faster than ever before. The cyclical progression inherent in Agile approaches, such as Scrum, are particularly suited to the dynamic nature of AI and ML projects.

Incorporating Agile into AI and ML projects offers numerous benefits, including swift adaptation to the ever-evolving digital sphere, risk mitigation, fiscal prudence, and enhanced project quality and customer satisfaction.

Agile Suits the Modern Remote Software Developer

Recent research from the Agile Business Consortium has highlighted the impact of remote work on Agile teams. The findings of the report indicate that making remote workers' participation effective requires effort by all team members to overcome challenges and to develop and maintain a shared understanding of the project between all members of the team.

With the inevitable rise of distributed teams and the remote work revolution, Agile methodologies have had to adapt to new challenges. Virtual stand-up meetings, collaborative online tools and asynchronous communication methods are all now essential for Agile teams to maintain their agility and productivity.

In addition to remote work considerations, Agile methodologies are evolving to embrace sustainability and ethical development practices, as more and more companies recognize the importance of responsible AI and ML development. Agile frameworks are being adapted to incorporate ethical considerations into the development process, ensuring that AI and ML systems are designed with fairness, transparency, and accountability in mind.

Looking Ahead

As the software development landscape continues to evolve, Agile methodologies will remain at the forefront of innovation, enabling teams to adapt to changing circumstances and deliver value to users. Its ability to provide adaptability and support collaboration in the development of AI and ML projects mean it is well placed to drive the next generation of products.

Whether it's in the dynamic world of AI and ML or in addressing the challenges of remote work and ethical development, Agile is poised to shape the future of software development in exciting and transformative ways.

Damian Winczewski is Head of Agile at STX Next
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