Modern day customers are used to getting things fast – fast internet, fast mobile devices, fast transportation etc. This changed their expectations as well. Customers now expect businesses to be expeditious when it comes to delivering products, services, and support. This is why many organizations adopt Agile.

Not all organizations manage to successfully implement and run an Agile ecosystem however. Nevertheless, the ones that are willing to adopt the methodology are granted a plethora of benefits in return that subsequently get the businesses a few steps closer to success.

That said, here are a few of those benefits organizations can get by adopting an Agile approach.

Faster time to market

Project teams are often put under pressure to get deliverables market-ready quickly. This is because the global economy is quite fast-paced not to mention competitive. Faster time to market is crucial for modern enterprises. Agile grants this benefit without compromising quality of the deliverables, provided it’s implemented properly with sufficient planning.

More room to innovate

Some organizations believe that technology is the main influencer on innovation. On the contrary, it’s people or the intellectual capital that influence how innovative an organization can be. A business lacking innovation would soon be outpaced by the competition. A more agile and nimble approach allows the business personnel to collaborate more effectively and bring innovative ideas into fruition without delaying the project.

Improved product quality

Customer experience is an important factor that directly ties into the success of a business. If the business can provide excellent customer experience along with quality products/services, they will gain the loyalty of their customers. Successful organizations often go out of their way to make sure their customers are happy. An agile business will be responsive enough to meet customer needs efficiently and deliver quality products/services to them on time which would impress them even more.

Boost employee morale

Keeping employee morale high should be a priority for business to maintain or even improve productivity. Increased productivity influences a business’ ability to enhance the quality of their deliverables. In an Agile environment, organizations give room for their employees to showcase their skills and innovate. Knowing that their efforts are being noticed and their contributions are being appreciated boosts the morale of employees which in turn boosts their loyalty and productivity.

Increased business efficiency and reduced risks

With Agile methodologies, business will have shorter release cycles and frequent deliveries for their products. This also enables them to ensure that quality of the final product is the best the team can achieve since each iteration of the project will be checked at every stage.

As the stakeholders will also be involved with the project along with a team, the risk of the team spending time on low priority activities is eliminated. In addition, the project will be accessing the market faster allowing the business to start generating revenue while the team keeps on improving the product.

Conclusion

There are even more benefits that an Agile ecosystem can provide an organization with. However, we thought these five required special mention. Agile project management is one great approach with which modern businesses can thrive in highly competitive and dynamic markets.

Agile is how we do our projects here at AOT. Talk to our experts to learn more about AOT’s Agile environment and its role in our punctual deliveries.

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There are risks associated with every kind of IT services including software development. These risks depend on various factors associated with the project – primarily its nature and intended purpose. The risks can be categorized based on their traits as well.

Many development companies adopt Agile methodologies to address or avoid some of these risks. But some risks are still prevalent even in Agile ecosystems due to various reasons that include process failures, unexpected changes, planning mistakes etc.

In this blog, we will explore a few types of software development risks in an Agile environment, starting with:

Budget risks

Budget risks are perhaps the most common as a project can go over budget due to a number of reasons. When developing software in an Agile environment, the team will have to proceed based on certain assumptions at some point till they get new information that disproves their assumptions. Naturally, as the product development progresses, there will be changes in goals or objectives. This approach may cause the project to exceed the budget.

To mitigate budget risks, it’s better to make product decisions when the decision-makers are in the best position to do so and not earlier. They don’t have to make a detailed plan at the beginning of the project either. The progression of the product will provide them with information to make actionable decisions that do not waste time and resources. A budgeting plan that complements this approach would further reduce budget risks.

Employee risks

A company always stands a risk of losing project team members while development is underway. This can potentially delay the project. The company should always be prepared for an absent project team member. A good approach to mitigating this risk is to co-locate the project team as squads. This way the team will be able to plan together, share knowledge, overcome obstacles, and complete code reviews. The development would be seamless without knowledge silos.

Productivity risks

These type of risks are common in projects with long-term goals and deadlines. The main cause for this risk is employees slacking off due to the lack of immediacy. This risk can be avoided if the Agile environment is centered on sprints to deliver demo versions of the software within a preset timeframe.

The sprints emphasize actionable goals to the team adding a sense of immediacy. Fostering a culture where completing sprints will be considered as a good achievement is also a great approach as it helps maintain development agility.

Time risks

These risks are the result of delays in development due to various factors such as poor planning, poor adaptability, impractical deadlines etc. Lack of flexibility in development processes is one of the more common causes of time risks.

It is up to the project managers to encourage and ensure flexibility in development so the team can adapt to changing requirements better. The team should also assess the project velocity periodically and employ an optimal time management strategy during development.

Conclusion

Software development companies with years of experience in software development are aware of the risks involved, and how they can be avoided without compromising the integrity of product development. Practices like sprints, co-location, sufficient planning etc. can help the team minimize risks considerably.

This blog also explains how AOT handles project risks. We have never failed our clients when it comes to product quality and timely delivery. Feel free to drop us a message to learn more about our skillsets and expertise.

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Back in 2001, the Agile Manifesto brought about a major transformation in software development, which has been going on now for about more than a decade. The shift from traditional waterfall model wasn’t hasty. But at present, almost every software company adopted Agile practices in some way earning a decent payoff one way or the other in at least some parts of the business.

In the agile ecosystem, products are improved with a potent mix of team collaboration and rapid development. Improved planning, faster testing, and customer satisfaction are added benefits. However, the whole Agile premise and its many benefits made organizations conveniently forget the security aspect of software development. Even the Agile Manifesto itself doesn’t explicitly mention any security practices.

This brings us to the topic at hand…

The present scenario

Agile certainly transforms the entire landscape of an organization’s software development operations – adaptability to dynamic changes, frequent product releases, capability to innovate etc.

But this evolution also creates a new landscape for threats, unlike that in the traditional waterfall methodology.

Organizations tend to ‘neglect’ security mainly because

  • Security is seen as a Non-Functional Requirement associated with a system and not the functional areas of the system
  • There is an apparent lack of Agile security tools and practices

Agile teams are afraid to tinker with security testing owing to the sheer nature of the aspect.

Securing software development lifecycle in an Agile ecosystem

Agile won’t be losing steam anytime soon evidently. So organizations should take the responsibility to implement the security properly to not come across setbacks in the long run.

Here are a few ways how they can do just that.

Building security with user stories

For this, the security team will have to work closely with the developers to create functional stories that define business requirements of the application in question, for security requirements. This story should also define how the application is split into tasks that need to be accomplished in the development life cycle.

These stories on security activities helps the Agile team assess the risks involved and plan ahead. A good IT consultant can help you with creating user stories and also implement Agile security practices.

Developers in charge of secure development

The secure development aspect shouldn’t be the responsibility of the security team alone. As a matter of fact, the heavy lifting of secure development should be done by the developers.

At present and in general, the security team of an organization that runs an Agile environment has may be 1 or 2 developers. This means the security team would find it challenging to take responsibility for every aspect involved. To give developers security responsibilities is to ensure that security is implemented the way it should be.

The security team can still oversee the implementation, but it’s crucial to get the developers involved in security scans to identify and fix bugs earlier in the development cycle itself.

Keep the security agile

The Agile ecosystem essentially lets you continually assess, adapt, innovate, and improve tools and processes. The security should be kept relevant along with this fluidity of Agile.

The way to do this is to apply the core elements of Agile – assess, adapt, improve, into security. Security user stories should change over time, and the team should adapt to it and improve it on the go. The security team should make sure that the appropriate changes are covered, and the improvements are done particularly in scenarios where new tools and processes are introduced.

Continuous integration of security practices

Back in the day, there weren’t many tools for the Agile team to work with. But now there are tools, including feature-rich application security tools on the market tailored for enterprises practicing Agile. These solutions can integrate perfectly with current development tools essentially making security scans easier to perform and facilitating security code fixing.

To an extent, successful security implementation depends on the tools used as well. Providing developers with the right kind of tools primed for use within the development environment itself, right from the start of the development life cycle considerably increases the chance of success when it comes to security. Continuous integration is vital in an Agile environment even when it’s about security.

Develop a security culture

Cultural shifts in an organization is also a prime factor that leads to major changes in software development. That’s the potency of Agile. It doesn’t just change operations alone. It transforms the organization from the inside out. This cultural shift also applies to security in an Agile ecosystem.

Security culture is also subject to changes over time. Tools and processes that will no longer serve the environment will be replaced with new ones. This will in turn trigger shifts in the security culture of the organization as well. What an Agile organization should go for is to see security as an important part of their culture.

Conclusion

Most organizations don’t bother much about the security aspect, and focus more on the proper implementation of Agile practices. Though they may not necessarily face big security challenges, running an Agile ecosystem without robust security policies is bound to fail them in the long run.

All the practices mentioned above may seem like a lot of work or may be seen as a big investment in time and effort. But they can indeed benefit organizations that want to leverage Agile to do wonders. It can be particularly beneficial for startups with rapid growth goals.

The key is to understand the gradual shift in culture and the evolution of development landscape. This would in turn make security implementation much easier. The security team can oversee the process and the developers won’t have a hard time with the implementation. And once the security practices are monitored and updated along with the changes, it can become a habit. Once it becomes a habit, it’d be safe to say that security is part of the culture. Agile security optimization indeed influences the success of an organization.

If you are wondering how to effectively implement security in your Agile landscape, we can be of help. Drop us a message to learn more about our services.