Despite the fact that methodologies like agile and DevOps try to break down the traditional silos in a software development organization, those silos are prevalent. The problem is that organizations are already used to working in a siloed fashion, so when they start to transition to agile, they approach development, testing and project management as three separate initiatives, according to Zubin Irani, CEO of cPrime.
“The main issue we are seeing time and time again is companies are approaching agile as three different efforts, they are funding it as three different efforts, and they have three different people leading these efforts,” he said. “There is absolutely no connectivity between that.”
(Related: What does agile mean today?)
It isn’t only about aligning people together on teams, Irani explained. Organizations that want to successfully transition to agile have to align people with process and technology. “We can’t tackle projects in three separate pieces and hope we will magically work in perfect unison. We need to work in cohesion together, so you must plan that, you must think about that, and you must fund it as one initiative, not as three initiatives.”
cPrime recently released Software Services Lifecycle Management (SSLM), a new approach that is designed to address this agile fragmentation. “You are not doing just an agile, ALM or DevOps transformation; it is really just one thing,” said Irani. “The point of this is to bring visibility to the executives funding it and spearheading it to say, ‘We need to approach this together.’”
One of the issues is that people don’t know who is going to lead the initiative, so there ends up having a development leader, testing leader and operations leader for one initiative. SSLM suggests organizations should establish one SSLM advisor who will spearhead the approach and manage expectations of the organization instead of breaking it up and giving people different responsibilities.
Another challenge is that as companies go out and try to engage with professional partners that will help them transition, they typically end up hiring three different companies, making it significantly more complex, according to Irani. Professional service firms should also be thinking about the approach as one, not just offering separate ALM and DevOps tools. SSLM suggests organizations find a strategic partner that can help address all their issues and help them stay unified.
In addition, companies distinguish agile and DevOps as two different methodologies, when they actually go hand in hand, Irani explained. “They are separate by definition, but they are tightly coupled by actual impact,” he said.
According to Irani, you can train a team to become agile and work in a cross-functional way. But if their tools are still manual, they don’t have enough test environments or development environments, and then they are not going to be able to build, deliver, and test iteratively. DevOps helps solve that because it gives teams automation, environment scalability, and the ability to move through development cycles quickly. “You need DevOps for that speed of getting code from a developer’s computer into an environment that is building, testing, validating and making it available for the tester.”
On the DevOps side, you can’t have automation, and you can’t achieve agility if people are will working in a waterfall fashion.
Agile and DevOps were created separately to solve very specific problems. But in order to truly solve the problem they are facing, they have to be connected, Irani explained.
“If you attack agile as one piece of the whole picture…you are only solving part of the problem, and it is not a big enough part for people to be happy about it,” he said.