What is your Agile weather report for 2011? Some have sunny Agile efforts ahead. Some are looking across the Agile landscape and into the clouds, some are looking to get introduced to agility, and others are considering strategies for Agile deployments. As we gaze in the horizon, what do we think will be hot in the Agile landscape and improve our working lives? What might be some of the latest shifts in the Agile industry in the upcoming year?
My theme of my Agile weather report will be “Sunny with a chance of Agility”. My predictions will focus on:
- Job security with Agile credentials
- More structure with Agile deployments
- Agile Tooling goes ALM
Prediction #1: Job security with Agile credentials
I predict that we will see a significant growth in software engineering jobs that include an Agile element to them. In general, we are seeing a growth in the use of Agile methodologies and practices in the software industry. Many of the new positions are now mentioning Agile as one of the job requirements. The implication is that they are looking for people who have worked within an Agile context so that when they join the new company, they bring Agile experience.
While training can get you started, it’s the experience that companies are looking for. With that being said, some companies are realizing that there are a lot of pretenders out there and will look to understand if candidates really have practiced some form of Agile versus practicing a form of Fragile (e.g., fake Agile), ScrumBut (e.g., I’m doing Agile “but” not all of it), or a cowboy version that is really ad hoc.
My prediction is based on an examination of what positions are newly opening across the country. Here are a couple of data points reflective of the Boston Massachusetts area:
- CareerBuilder.com had 92 posting in the last month with Agile listed as a requirement, while Monster.com lists 197 postings overall. These are both increases from the month before
- During the December session of the Agile Bazaar, after the main speaker is finished presenting attendees can come up and advise the group of available positions within their respective companies. In this instance, there were 8 people who came up to inform us of available positions within their companies. Typically there are 2 or 3 people who come up to discuss their openings so this was an increase. And to make the message even more positive, several of the people didn’t just have one or two positions available, but over a dozen positions available. All the positions were looking for folks with some level of Agile experience.
In addition because the job market in the technology and software engineering sectors are heating up in general as we come out of the recession and companies are seeing value in applying Agile methods, we’ll see a marked increase of job openings requesting Agile experience.
Now what does this mean to a technology and software professional who has Agile credentials? I suggest that it means that they will have an increased level of job security within 2011 and those that are looking for a new job will have better odds of finding a position compared to those without Agile experience.
Prediction #2: More structure with Agile deployments
As product teams become more mature so do their Agile practices. While Agile has been utilized in large projects for several years now, it is still new to many. With that in mind, I expect to see more formality in deploying Agile. This is especially true since Agile is no longer a budding trend but maturing where patterns are emerging that lead to more successful Agile deployments.
As teams approach Agile, it will be important to consider the starting conditions before getting started. While some would like to say, “Let’s just get started doing Agile”, it may be better to consider a methodical or strategic approach to the deployment of Agile. With that in mind, here are some Agile adoption approaches that may be considered:
- Agile Adoption Roadmap – This approach by Mario Moreira provides a set of practical tasks within a “readiness, deployment, coaching, and support” framework that is meant to lead to a more successful implementation of agile. It emphasizes the important of readiness tasks prior to deployment to increase the odds of gaining the most benefits of Agile and leads to a more robust and less problematic Agile adoption.
o To read more on the Agile Adoption Roadmap approach, go to: Agile Adoption Roadmap
o To read more on the Shock Therapy approach, go to: http://rapidscrum.com/shock.php
- Agile Scaling Model – This approach by Scott Ambler highlights Agile scaling strategies to meet the unique challenges faced by respective product teams. This model focuses on seven scaling factors which are tailored to establish a disciplined agile delivery lifecycle with techniques to address the full delivery process, from project initiation to deployment into production.
Prediction #3: Agile Tooling goes ALM
As we look into 2011 and the future, we will see more focus on providing comprehensive Agile tooling capabilities within an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) framework. The value of having an ALM framework is that it allows a product team to manage customer needs from business case development to delivery. When tools support this framework, it can help streamline and reduce the effort in supporting the process. Some examples of tooling that provides an Agile focus in an ALM context include:
- CA Project amp; Portfolio Management (PPM) – This solution brings together the industry-leading CA Clarity PPM product with the updated CA Agile Vision product (Agile planning), the newly introduced CA Idea Vision (ideation), and CA Product Vision (requirements planning) products. This integrated Agile solution brings the voice of the customer to the forefront of innovation. As a result, organizations have the flexibility of using one solution to both manage traditional projects and Agile projects. In addition, the CA PPM solution includes integrations with Jira and HP Quality Center to support the delivery an overall ALM solution.
- IBM Rational Team Concert – This solution provides a software development team collaboration framework. It enables teams to track all aspects of their work, such as work items via Agile planning, source control, reporting, and build management, in a single product. IBM Rational Team Concert is built on Jazz, an extensible technology platform that helps teams integrate tasks across the software lifecycle.
- To read more, go to: http://jazz.net/projects/rational-team-concert/
- HP Quality Center Agile Accelerator – This product is designed to help you manage Agile development using HP Quality Center (QC). It provides a solution where Agile Planning is integrated with Test management. In addition, QC includes a defect tracking component so that you can manage stories and defects and map them to test cases.
As we look into 2011, conditions could be quite sunny for those companies looking for the Agile edge. What this may mean to those with Agile credentials is that you will gain job security. Since Agile is becoming more mature, continues to prove itself, and can scale to larger product teams and their projects, there will be a need to have more consistent approaches to deploying Agile. There are patterns for success deployments which new teams can take advantage of. And as Agile tooling makes its way into more of an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) framework, it can provide a more end-to-end view of how business and user needs make their way to delivery. Whether your forecast is sunny or cloudy (or a little bit of both), consider agility in driving your business! Have a productive 2011!!!