This Thing Called Agile (and Why It’s Great for IBM i!)
Change is a Good Thing.
We improve only when we do something different. Think about it: people who want to lose weight will try to change what they eat and how often they exercise. Why? Because their daily habits and routines are sustaining that current weight. In order to see progress, you need to step outside your comfort zone and try something different. The same can be said for the projects that we work on.
Some time ago, I started on this Agile journey at Fresche. Agile was something that I read about only in school, and had never put into practice in my IT career. My SDLC experience was strictly the Waterfall Model. I have to admit, the first two times, I didn’t get Agile. I remember an Agile coach saying to me, “just keep it simple”, and my response was, “but I can’t change it now, we’ve already set it up this way”. It was a long and complicated project. Needless to say, we should have done some things differently. Always easy in hind sight.
It’s a Complicated Thing.
Many of our clients come from the IBM i world. When companies want to modernize their application, they come to us. We offer a wide range of solutions, and one of them is code transformation. Whatever our clients goals and objectives are, they all have one thing in common – they all have older code running such as RPG, Cobol or CA 2E and they want to move toward modern programming languages such as Java and PHP. In the end, no two clients are the same, so we need to manage the complexities around this in the project.
Let me Count the Ways
Fast forward to today. Waterfall who? I fell in love with Agile and let me tell you why. Agile practice is about choosing people and interactions over processes. It’s about making improvements before the project is over. What is the point of a lessons learned session when the project is already over and you’ve delivered to your customer? So that you can improve with the next customer? What about your current one? In Agile, you get faster feedback from your teammates, stakeholders and most importantly, the client. Imagine that – you get to make improvements right away. What does that mean for our IBM i customers? More tangible value! How? Because we were able to make changes where needed. Agile is the answer to our ever fast-changing environments.
The feedback loop is a critical part of being Agile. We perform retrospectives and service delivery reviews to gather this feedback. How well are we doing? Can we do better? What can we improve on? All questions that help us deliver the most value to our customers. Lastly, what we do with that information is equally as important. We strive to change one thing at a time. The end result? A better service or product for our customers.