While most developers conceptually take to agile development methodologies fairly quickly, getting them to function like a cohesive team is quite another matter. Not only are most developers fairly independent, the nature of agile development makes it easy for one developer to rush ahead of the others. Given all the dependencies between all the different modules that make up an application, it’s not hard to see how this could easily become problematic.
According to Todd Olson, Rally vice president of products, while most organizations have embraced agile development methodologies to one degree or another, there is a clear need for a more structured approach to managing the overall process. To that end, Rally recently added support for the Scaled Agile Framework, a knowledge base created by a small group of agile developers that codifies how to extend agile and lean application development principles across a team of developers.
At the same time, Rally is also working with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University to create a Software Development Performance Index research program. The goal, says Olson, is to quantify the attributes of high-performance teams of agile developers.
While there continues to be much debate over application development methodologies, it’s pretty clear by now that many organizations are losing patience with slower approaches. Even though they can deliver high quality code, they almost invariably miss project deadlines. Of course, there’s no guarantee that any one methodology is going to produce any better or worse code than another. But all things being equal, a team of developers working faster should be able to continuously test and validate each other’s code during, rather than after, the development process to yield high-quality applications.
Businesses today are more dependent on a broader array of applications than ever and there’s no sign of their appetite for new applications slackening. But while they may want those applications to be developed faster than ever, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to sacrifice quality to achieve that goal.