The future is agile. Companies and software developers can gain many advantages by adopting an agile approach. Here I want to describe two of them: Speed and talent. You can go faster using an agile approach. And you can attract more and better developers.
This post is based on my Herbstcampus 2012 keynote. Here is the video of the (german) lightning talk:
An important measure for speed in a software project is “cycle time”. Cycle time is the time it takes you from having an idea to delivering the finished, usable product to your customers. Shorter cycle times mean that you go faster. And going fast is important: We live in a world of constant change. And change accelerates. Going fast means that you can react to those changes.
Most of the software developed today is written for the web - There are even graphics programs and 3D games available as web applications! And the percentage will rise. Developing for the web has just too many advantages over developing native apps. You can, for example, measure in real time how your users use the application. You can even add offline capabilities.
And you can deliver a new version of your software at any time - multiple times a day! This makes cycle times of hours or days possible. But in most organizations, their processes and policies make daily delivery - or continuous deployment - outright impossible. They need radically different processes and policies before they can even think of continuous delivery.
Most organizations today have cycle times measured in months or years, not hours or days. This is a relic from a past where delivering faster was not possible. And for now, most of these organizations will do just fine. Because all their competitors are just as slow. But the clock is ticking. A competitor might find a way to go faster… Continuous delivery, when implemented now, can delight your customers. But, at some point in the future, it may be necessary just to survive!
The problem with software developers is that they are becoming scarcer. Not that our number decreases. It’s just that the demand rises faster than schools can educate new developers.
The demand rises because more and more companies from diverse industries start to develop software. They have to, just to stay in business or to gain a competitive advantage. “The software industry” does not exist anymore. Every industry is a software industry.
When you are looking for developers right now this leaves you in an awkward position. I have heard of companies who don’t get even one application per open job over a period of months! This means they either have to accept every applicant or work with less developers. This is not a situation you want to be in. What does your company offer to attract talent?
Money will not necessary help. Everybody offers money. And after reaching a certain threshold, money is not the top priority for most people. Other thing suddenly become more important. Things like responsibility and accountability: People want to be responsible for something and accountable for the results. This might sound scary at first, but it is actually a good position to be in.
People want to be trusted. And they want to be able to trust others. To trust their management, their company, their coworkers. People want to be proud of what they did, proud of what they were part of. And they want to work on interesting projects and have an impact on the outcome of these projects.
A team of good developers, working in an agile way, can work at the speed described above, giving you the advantage of being fast. And you can offer your developers more than money. You can offer them what most people seek in their lives.
Do you want me to talk about this or a similar topic at your comany, user group meeting, conference or event? Do you have any questions, or points where you disagree with me? You can find all the ways to contact me at the bottom of this page. Please use them :)
Read more about improving your agility in small, safe-to-fail steps with fast feedback in my book “Quick Glance At: Agile Anti-Patterns”: Buy it now!
You might be also interested in… Learn more about how I can help you save money and earn money by improving your implementation of agile software development.