The Next Wave of Software Delivery: Integrating Agile and DevOps

Posted 9/11/2015 8:19:46 AM by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

The Next Wave of Software Delivery: Integrating Agile and DevOps
We recently visited with Pradeep Prabhu, Co-founder and CEO of CloudMunch, to discuss the opportunities and challenges of adopting Agile and DevOps methodologies. 

ADM: What is driving the next wave of software delivery?

Prabhu: In the past five years, business cycles have greatly accelerated, forcing companies to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. This trend has been driven by businesses’ adoption of consumer-oriented technologies like social media, smart phones and B2C Internet services. 

The impact of these accelerating changes is astounding, affecting every facet of an organization, from company culture to management styles and business infrastructure. This is being driven by changing customer expectations - breakneck speed and complexity have become the new normal. Companies are being forced to seek new development methods and leverage the cloud to create software that has the capacity to continuously adapt to ever-changing user needs. 

These new approaches to development require companies to intensify collaboration and integrate traditional and new methodologies. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will play a key role in the success of companies in today’s digital economy. In the new landscape, it’s about rapid, continuous, high-quality software delivery, and companies that can do this at enterprise scale will outpace those that struggle to adapt. 

ADM: What is enabling these rapid development and delivery cycles?

Prabhu: This extraordinary change has been achieved in part through adoption of Agile development & DevOps. Agile promotes close collaboration between business users and developers and DevOps drives close collaboration between developers & IT Ops & Sys Admins. 

In Agile-DevOps environments, development is broken into well-defined intervals with the goal of releasing software quickly, generally within less than a month and ideally weekly sprints like what we do at CloudMunch. Updates are ongoing and nearly continuous, allowing product development teams to pare delivery time by 50 percent or more as DevOps processes enables these rapidly produced software updates to be delivered quickly into production and end users. 

Adobe is a good example: After deploying the CloudMunch DevOps platform, which is designed to integrate a variety of popular development tools into a single interface, Adobe has increased the pace of application development by as much as 60 percent. Consolidating a diverse toolset into a single platform establishes a more efficient and harmonious relationship between DevOps and Agile development models, and speeds and optimizes delivery.

ADM: What companies are using Agile and DevOps methodologies for faster software delivery?

Prabhu: Already, many companies like Twitter, GameStop and Etsy use Agile processes in their DevOps for continuous innovation but most importantly many enterprise companies, global majors like Honeywell, Target, GE Capital, Tesco and more are adopting this. As per Gartner, by 2016, 25% of global  2000 companies will have DevOps as a mainstream IT strategy.

ADM: What are some of the barriers to implementing Agile and DevOps processes in the enterprise?

Prabhu: There are several incompatibilities between traditional IT processes and new Agile and DevOps delivery processes:

1. Traditional operational IT processes are often planned and measured in quarters on an annual budget cycle. Agile development may roll out in a two-week sprint. Once built new applications are built, business groups are eager to use them, but most IT organizations aren’t prepared to deploy new capabilities that quickly.

2. Supporting software ecosystems are very complex- the comprehensive features of supporting software allow development teams to focus on desired business capabilities rather than low-level utility components. However, since all of these components are updated frequently, the process of tracking and deploying the right supporting ecosystem presents a complex problem. 

3. Different Agile teams require autonomy in the use of development tooling, which results in a number of different and disconnected development tools being used across the development ecosystem. This increases the complexity of implementation and makes it difficult to provide metrics that present a consistent view of the enterprise portfolio of development projects.

ADM: What are the emerging and critical practices for enterprises to consider for implementing Agile development methodology and DevOps processes?

Prabhu: To support rapid implementation of infrastructure needed to support the Agile delivery process, enterprises are increasingly moving more of their essential business operations to the Cloud. For example, Adobe has embraced CloudMunch, a DevOps platform to automate delivery of software updates to dozens of its products in AWS to push multiple updates more quickly and easily to its customers.

In the past, they’ve used a variety of development tools like Chef and Jenkins to manage application development and infrastructure automation, but these aren’t enough in today’s hybrid environment. To effectively apply Agile development methods in a hybrid DevOps environment, businesses have found it’s better to plug in and integrate their developers’ chosen tools in a single workspace and dashboard.

The ability to manage Agile development in a hybrid cloud environment will become even more important in the next decade. Already, new platforms have emerged, allowing development teams to better orchestrate multiple toolsets and processes in a single “pane of glass” to streamline collaboration and application delivery.

Pradeep Prabhu is Co-founder and CEO of CloudMunch. Previously Pradeep was Vice President and Head of SaaS for Infosys, where in his 18-year career he was instrumental in growing the tech company to a multi-billion dollar business. Before pioneering Infosys' SaaS business, Pradeep incubated the Infosys-Microsoft solutions and alliance program and the Microsoft Technology Center. His previous leadership roles include establishing the Infosys Seattle office and delivering many successful software programs for marquee clients like Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft and conceptualizing and launching the Internet banking product eFinacle, which today is installed in banks around the globe.

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About the author: RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

As the Publisher and Editor for App Developer Magazine, Richard has several industry recognitions and endorsements from tech companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google for accomplishments in the mobile market. He was part of the early Google AFMA program, and also involved in the foundation of Google TV. He has been developing for mobile since 2003 and serves as CEO of Moonbeam Development, a mobile app company with 200 published titles in various markets throughout the world. Richard is also the founder of LunarAds, a mobile cross-promotion and self-serv mediation network for developers. He has been a featured presenter at trade-shows and conferences, and stays active with new projects relating to mobile development.

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