Science and technology are disrupting business everywhere. In the world of software development, this is being felt through a constant and ever-growing pressure to deliver faster and better solutions. “Time-to-market” has become a measure, but like entropy in reverse, it always goes down.
Some of the technologies disrupting the business world include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and Blockchain. At the same time, there is increasing concern on issues such as privacy, accessibility and security.
These changes are pushing ‘traditional’ Agile teams to deliver more, faster and ‘differently’. The ‘old Agile’ development style is superseded by the growing need to react and adapt Agile processes beyond initial adoption, and the given prescribed approaches such as Scrum and extreme programming (XP).
On the other hand, and in spite of its reported success, Agile does experience failure. Recent reviews on the causes of Agile failure show issues such as: “lack of experience with Agile methods”, “insufficient training”, as well as teams with a greater focus on “success” rather than on “learning” contribute to failure.
The key is focus
Agile is now a commodity. The quality and business value of its deliverables depends on a team’s ability to continuously re-focus and learn practical new skills.
The focus needs to move from development teams producing software using Agile to teams delivering business value in the context of digital business transformation. Digital business transformation demands a change in organisational leadership, but most of all, it places a large demand in discovery and learning for individuals and teams doing Agile.
Skills in Agile teams
If we look at research on current techniques and trends in the industry for core Agile skills, we will find that:
- Business Analysis skills are being enhanced by techniques and approaches such as design thinking, digital business modelling (such as Oesterwalder’s business model canvas and value proposition canvas), and business architecture. There’s also decision modelling and notation (DMN), customer journey maps, data science and impact analysis, value-driven requirements engineering, capability analysis and strategic value analysis.
- According to Atlassian, developer skills are incorporating techniques such as outcome-driven development (goals instead of tasks), microservices based on business needs, feature toggling, containerisation, and more into their programming skills.Other trends such as Google’s Progressive Web Development (PWD), Software-as-an-Infrastructure (the Uber-isation of software), and low-code development are equally modifying traditional software building skills.
- Last year’s ISTQB survey found that soft skills, business/domain knowledge and Business Analysis skills, along with security, AI, and Big Data are prime movers in the testing space of today’s IT industry.
- A report by Micro Focus stresses the enhancement of the customer experience as a major focus for modern testing. In fact, the report highlights how for “the first time ever” “‘end-user satisfaction’ is a top objective for QA and testing strategy”. The report also conveys the impact of AI and machine learning (ML) on automation through an increased use of bots for testing environments, lifecycle test automation, and test data generation. The integration of AI and ML into testing would free up testers to focus more on business value and overall testing strategy using soft skills such as creativity, innovation, and logic.
Learn and adapt
Given the pace of technological changes and the introduction of new themes, teams need to find time to learn, try and adapt as part of their iteration ‘deliverables’. Learning needs not only to be achieved by working on a piece of code and process improvement, but also having individual and joint time to explore new trends, learn new technologies and techniques, and try and adapt them to the solution being developed.
To succeed in this rapidly evolving environment, we must continuously focus on skill development across Testing, Business Analysis, Agile and DevOps. Contact us today to find out how our training and expertise can help you iterate better to deliver successful outcomes.