Gartner Predicts 2010: Agile and Cloud Impact Application Development Directions
Gartner studied the market and attempt to predict trends in their latest report: Predicts 2010: Agile and Cloud Impact Application Development Directions.
As organizations seek to improve productivity and reduce application operating and maintenance costs, we will continue to see an evolution of software development tools, platforms and practices. To take advantage of this, organizations must shift structures and practices while embracing new technologies — a challenging proposition.
Gartner’s analysts (Thomas Murphy and David Norton) predict that by 2012 “agile development methods will be utilized in 80% of all software development projects”. The authors explain that although Scrum will continue gaining in popularity over the coming years, organizations will not be successful in their transition unless they move toward a team-focused culture. As was mentioned in their previous report, very few organizations use a pure-Scrum approach and most rely on an hybrid approach (waterfall and Agile).
The report highlights that organizations struggle to implement true collaboration in the context of globally distributed teams. A situation that has amplified in recent years with outsourcing and off-shoring of software development projects.
In the other hand, the report confirms that teams who have successfully moved to Agile do see productivity improvements especially in “the flexibility of the development team to respond to shifting requirements”. This is especially true for web-based application developments where rapid responses to a changing environment is critical.
The authors point out that organizations need to properly invest in such a transition in order to achieve success.
Organizations that do not make use of key agile practices and do not invest in training and supportive tools’ infrastructure will find that a shift to pseudoagile, while potentially delivering a short-term productivity bump, will end in long-term declines in quality and productivity (…) the promise of four times the improvements in overall productivity has been and will be achieved by select organizations.
Gartner’s report highlights that “development organizations have been making a shift toward agile methods, but this is still slow to move beyond development, and often is a mixture of waterfall practices utilizing an agile or iterative project cycle”. The authors also recommend to “look for opportunities to utilize agile development practices, but recognize that it requires changes and commitment on the part of business and IT”.
Gartner concludes with a few recommendations to help organizations maximize their return from an Agile transition.
- Recognize the cultural changes that are at the heart of agile.
- Don’t allow agile excitement to drive cowboy-coding practices.
- Agile requires discipline.
- Recognize that scrum is only a partial solution, and focus on a collection of practices.
- Find tools that enable collaboration and help automate repeatable, consistent practices.