The Agile movement has been a source of much discussion in the application development world during the past several years. This is largely due to the fact that companies are now building, using and launching more diverse software solutions than ever before, including cloud and mobile technologies that are being accessed in and outside of the workplace on a daily basis.
Despite the ongoing adoption of what many organizations consider to be Agile practices, a massive chasm has emerged between what is thought to be Agile and what actually is. This notion was highlighted in a recent Dr. Dobb's report by Andrew Binstock, who argued that the underlying philosophies of Agile focus on personal value, not necessarily how developers use new technologies, such as automation, code review or continuous integration.
Part of the problem contributing to this disconnect is the fact that people are obsessed with progress and will often embrace cutting-edge strategies instead of tactics that have worked for time immemorial. Binstock echoed what other IT experts are saying, which is something along the lines of how software development has become a pop culture, focusing on the present instead of where it came from and how its history can shape its future.
Waterfall methodologies, for example, are being thrown under the bus, Binstock asserted. This model refers to the progress-based philosophy that sees applications being created, tested, deployed and maintained one step at a time. While this particular strategy has worked for decades, it is now being disregarded as inefficient and old-fashioned.
Getting Agile back to its roots
Binstock noted that the original Agile manifesto highlighted the importance of incorporating values into software development, not necessarily practices. Shortly after its emergence, however, consultants and other industry professionals claimed the best way to bring out the value of an application was to follow a set of processes. As a result, the underlying concept of Agile, i.e. value, was lost.
At the same time, this does not necessarily mean that utilizing emerging technologies like automation, code refactoring and other solutions negates the value of Agile. Binstock said organizations can still be a part of the Agile movement if they prioritize personal values over IT practices and tools.
A separate uTest report highlighted the importance of understanding the big picture and defining goals when adopting Agile methodologies. By taking this holistic approach, organizations will likely find themselves less caught up in adopting the most cutting-edge solutions and instead focus on hitting critical objectives that will allow their companies as a whole to prosper and grow.
There is no doubt that the Agile movement will continue to pick up momentum in the next several years, especially as mobile, cloud and other technologies mature and take on a more dominant presence. Executives who plan ahead and learn the true philosophies that built the Agile movement will likely find it easier and more rewarding to create applications that meet their organizations' needs and expectations.