Getting the Agile Development House in Order

Michael Vizard

Just about everybody sees the value in bringing software development projects to fruition faster using agile software development methodologies. What most IT managers don't care for is all the constant state of upheaval that seems to accompany all these projects. With so many new application releases and updates in the pipeline, everyone from the developers themselves to the folks in charge of IT operations frequently wind up in the dark.


Rally Software has been trying to address these issues with a suite of application lifecycle management (ALM) tools that have been specifically designed for agile development projects. Now the company wants to take those tools one step further with the release this week of a Rally Application Portfolio Management tool that takes the information gathered by Rally ALM tools and puts it in an application that is specifically designed for the people responsible for strategic application planning, otherwise sometimes known as the business managers.

 


According to Todd Olson, Rally Software vice president of products, agile development requires managers to think differently about how projects are managed, which in turn creates a need for a planning tool that was specifically designed for managing agile development projects as opposed to an existing ALM tool that has been retrofitted or enhanced to support agile projects.


This is especially important, says Olson, because as IT organizations are being held more accountable for governance issues during the development process, the ability to document what is happening during the process at any given time has become critical. And yet, that process needs to be done in the least obtrusive way possible in order to make sure that the benefits of moving to an agile development process are not lost inside a cumbersome management tool that is not seamlessly integrated with the tools being used by the developers.


Much like any project management activity, the people in charge of the project need to find ways to gather information about the project that don't wind up getting in the way of the people actually trying to complete the project. The issue that managers as a whole need to address is finding ways to bring order to the agile development process without anybody involved in the process really having to know that it's actually being done.



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