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HP Software's community for IT leaders // March 2014

Chase bottlenecks to make Agile more agile

A new Forrester report uncovers the barriers to faster delivery and gives IT departments concrete ways to push past them.

The bottom line

What: Agile teams can move like lightning, but you must overcome slow handoffs, or you’ll squander the speed and potential business advantage.

How: Especially in an enterprise environment, you have to identify and eliminate key obstacles.

More: Download the Forrester Report, "Better Outcomes, Faster Results—A Path to Continuous Delivery" (reg. req'd).

In today’s competitive environment, faster delivery is the driving force behind Agile adoption. But IT organizations are finding that adopting Agile isn’t enough to make them fast. In fact, a new report from Forrester and HP suggests that many organizations that have adopted Agile have removed bottlenecks around development and testing—only to push them further downstream to build-and-release processes or upstream to the business.

The report, "Better Outcomes, Faster Results—A Path to Continuous Delivery," identifies key reasons that Agile initiatives bog down, and offers concrete recommendations to help organizations progressively improve to achieve their desired delivery cadence—monthly, weekly, or even faster.

Agile alone won’t give you speed

Agile makes projects flow more smoothly by breaking big chunks of work into smaller ones. But by itself, Agile doesn’t address integration and deployment challenges—which are major impediments to faster delivery. If you can address those challenges first, or at the same time as you adopt Agile, you’ll get faster results.

You need automation and a standardized environment

Non-standard environments lead to inconsistent results and wasted effort tracking down the sources of errors. When you establish common configurations across development, test, and production environments, you reduce errors and eliminate waste. Automated provisioning improves availability, eliminates delays, and enables auditability.

Cultural change is just as important as technology change

Faster delivery means changing the way that the business engages with IT, but 63 percent of organizations cited lack of willingness from the business as a factor that prevented them from moving faster. Organizational structures and governance models optimized to support traditional approaches must change, too, to eliminate handoffs and delays.

Continuous integration and test automation lead to faster releases

Continuous integration is the engine that drives software development. It lets developers build and test code in small increments, providing immediate feedback on code quality. Combined with application programming interface (API)-driven test automation, it enables higher levels of throughput and quality, as well as faster delivery speed. It’s the critical improvement that enables all others.

Chart a path to faster delivery

The barriers to faster delivery seem daunting, but they’re less daunting when the transformation is considered one step at a time. Faster delivery entails a series of consistent improvements, and each yields immediate benefits while laying the foundation for future improvements.

The Forrester report identifies five levels of a business value delivery maturity model. For more on progressing through each phase, as well as the report’s key recommendations for achieving faster delivery, download the full report (reg. req'd). And check out the on-demand webinar exploring the concepts: "Forrester: Better Outcomes, Faster Results – A Path to Continuous Delivery" (reg. req'd).


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