Thursday, May 10, 2007

Agile Development Drives Better Business Results

Imagine a world where you are predictably delivering high quality products to happy customers faster than ever before and realizing more revenue and higher profits as a result. A world where compliance is automatic, audits are a breeze, and expenses are kept under control.

In this world builds don’t break, developers are happy and productively working on the right things. People are working smoothly towards common goals at multiple sites across the globe. Using parallel development, multiple projects are worked on all at the same time, customer updates are made quickly, and there are fewer regressions due to fixes that didn’t make it into a new release.

More and more folks are experiencing this world as they upgrade their development environment. By development environment I mean the combination of development tools and development methods. Just as C replaced assembler, C++ replaced C, and Java and C# are replacing C++, new development tools are replacing the old ones and Agile development is replacing traditional development methods.

Change is in the air. The terms “Agile Development,” “Extreme Programming,” “continuous integration,” and others can be heard more and more. They are in the titles of conference sessions and books, they are showing up in new publications and web sites, and more and more companies are adopting these new methods.

It has been widely stated that the benefits of Agile Development are producing value, maturity, and feedback faster; allowing feedback to inform functionality to produce a better product, and increasing flexibility. Getting these benefits is much easier using more modern software development tools.

A lot has changed in the software development world in the last 10 years. If you’ve only ever used the older tools such as Bugzilla, CVS, ClearCase, ClearQuest, PVCS, VSS, SCCS, Synergy, or Dimensions, you are missing out on a whole new world of options. There are many exciting new entrants in the world of software development including AccuRev, Ant, Cruise Control, Jira, Mojo, Perforce, Surround SCM, Subversion, Team Foundation, and Team Track. As a simple example, none of the older SCM systems provide atomic transactions, but all of the newer systems do!

There are really only four ways to increase the profitability of a business based on software development: reduce costs via outsourcing, reduce headcount, reduce other expenses, or increase revenues. In the end, reducing expenses can only go so far. By far, the most expensive part of software development is the people. Compared to your people costs, the cost of migrating to a new open source tool or purchasing a new commercial software development tool is a drop in the bucket. The most successful way to increase profits is to increase revenues or increase productivity. These new tools and development methods can help you increase your revenues by helping you get your products to market faster with higher quality.

No comments: