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The top things to ensure Agile success

The Agile 2010 conference provided plenty of opportunities for agile enthusiasts to learn and share both what worked well and what problems they encountered in the world of agile software development. In a panel session titled “Agile Trends and Future Directions,” industry experts were asked what the top things that could be done to ensure agile success. 

 Answers included:

  • Make it part of your organization. Many are unprepared. Prepare for change.
  • Make it an end-to-end process. Look at the whole, not just development.
  • Continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery.
  • Make it part of the culture.
  • Strong collaboration with business, end users and operations – build strong relationships. 
  • Don’t impose it on people, but drive by self-motivation.

One of the panelists, Forrester Researcher analyst David West, met up with me for lunch later to discuss more about trends he was seeing in the agile ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) arena.

I also met with Elizabeth Woodward, who Elizabeth Woodward spoke with me further about the book she co-authored, A Practical Guide to Distrubed Scrum. Woodward and others stess the importance of communication and relationships amongst team members.

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The most intesreting answer is the one relating to continuous testing. Not so much that it features in the list, that's a given, but how to build testing into the Agile approach. Agile is all about developing in short finite iterations but most testing tools can take weeks just to script correctly, as often happens, or corners are cut to fit the test into the acceptance window. Either way the outcome is less than perfect and defeats the objective of adopting Agile in the first place. What is needed is an equally agile testing tool that can deliver correct and realistic tests in a few days - not weeks - if Agile is truly going to become the de facto development standard.
Thanks for your comment, Stresstester. Yes, continuous testing and test-driven development and automated testing (all related) were talked about often at the Agile 2010 conference as contributing factors to Agile success. I'm sure there are plenty of vendors that would claim that their testing tool was the agile solution you seek. What have you found? Do the tools measure up?