Speed, efficiency, and effectiveness are critical in agile software development, which asks for short release cycles focused on specific client needs.
That is why agile development and application research teams have resorted to cloud computing to integrate continuous integration with continuous delivery.
When developers (and testers) use the cloud for application development, they can construct and test various scenarios in real time — on an unlimited number of testing and staging servers — while parallelizing development activities and correcting defects on older and newer releases alike.
Although cloud adoption is not required for agile application development, it does allow software teams to drastically reduce operating times and costs, among other things.
Why is Agile Adoption Increasing?
While agile development can take place outside of the cloud, teams are flocking to the cloud because it has the ability to lower the cost of software development by offering pay-per-use infrastructure for software and hardware. In fact, public cloud computing is predicted to nearly double from $229 billion in 2019 to $500 billion in 2023. This investment is expected to push agile to becoming a parallel activity, with the Standish Group Chaos Report recently reporting that the agile success rate is 42 percent when compared to Waterfall’s success rate of 26 percent. Further, the Harvard Business Review found that 60 percent of companies experience revenue growth and profits increase after using an agile approach.
Simply put, integrating agile and the cloud empowers development teams to deliver meaningful functionality to end users, collect real-time feedback, and make rapid adjustments based on that feedback. Companies that use the cloud to speed up their release cycles, for example, can make incremental improvements on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.
Agile application development anticipates the requirement for flexibility and simplifies the final product’s delivery. Components or features are constantly refined during development since it is built on incremental, step-by-step development and iterations (sprints).
5 Benefits of Agile Cloud Development
Due to the large number of distribution costs, the traditional waterfall development approach of project management makes it more difficult to achieve the rapid application development cycle enabled by the cloud.
Agile, on the other hand, concentrates on tiny, one-at-a-time phases that are not slowed by potential barriers in other stages of the process. Further, through approaches like the agile software development framework Extreme Programming, teams can more efficiently produce high quality software. At the same time, agile encourages innovation through experimentation, giving team members the freedom to try new things when presented with an interesting user story in production environments or testing environments.
Agile is also becoming more popular among development teams since it allows them to enjoy:
1. Flexible planning that allows room for adaptability, rather than the more rigid waterfall approach
2. Client and development team members working together, which allows team members to get stakeholder input in real time
3. Quick development times due to short development cycles
4. Continual design upgrades and adjustments at any stage of development
5. Constant collaboration and continuous feedback from clients
How to Use the Cloud for Agile Software Development
How can you integrate this new cloud model into your team’s agile processes? Here are five steps that will allow you to take advantage of the cloud:
1. For quicker provisioning, use templates for development and testing – Basic components with well-defined interfaces are the basis of a good application. By mixing the key components of a stack, developers are able to produce innovative, new products. Consider designing full application stacks as ‘templates’ to enable your development and test teams to swiftly create entire application stacks with minimal time and effort. Virtualization at all levels is at the heart of any cloud technology. Dev/test templates should be able to combine virtual machines (VMs), networks, storage, installed apps, and security rules into a single provisioning unit using the template approach. To make provisioning even faster, development and test teams can create a library of ready-to-use templates that include application components such as the application server tier, web tier, and database tier, and then combine each asset as needed to provision the entire application for a specific release. Keep in mind that you should have the most recent versions of these components in your library, with all necessary security updates implemented.
2. Create a gold version for each release – Building an application entails a multitude of complex tasks in addition to VM creation, like establishing network connections, firewall policies, and so on. As a result, providing a full application, especially from beginning, can be a difficult and time-consuming job. The cloud can assist developers and testers in quickly and easily provisioning a whole environment or application. Developers can return to the assigned version on demand, as often as needed, by setting the ‘gold version’ of each release or release milestone. Multiple copies of any given release can be made available to test engineers, and test environments can be parallelized.
3. Work together on quickly fixing complex bugs – “But it works on my machine,” we all dread hearing. This problem is worsened when teams are dispersed throughout the globe, and the back-and-forth work on bugs costs the developers and, ultimately, the company a lot of time and money. Rather than allowing complex faults or patches to be passed from one person to the next, development and testing teams can use the cloud to interact in real time and resolve issues more quickly. Remote teams can collaborate utilizing the same online environment, where troubleshooting and issue fixes can happen in real time, thanks to cloud technologies that enable “VM publishing” and “over the shoulder view.” Further, having a gold version also allows testers to access a live reproduction of an issue for instant evaluation, as well as provisioning of several environments to protect test teams from being barred from a release.
4. Share recent releases with customers – The earlier a problem or defect is discovered during the development of a program, the better. Early on in the process, it’s also considerably cheaper and easier to fix problems and design concerns. Cloud solutions that allow you to share new releases with a small, targeted group of consumers can help you use “additional eyes” and spot faults or issues early on. Further, because the cloud allows for infinite server access, experimentation and innovation are much easier to achieve. Developers do not have to wait as long to construct the next version as they would if they were limited to working on a small number of physical servers.
5. To get support, development, test, and operations teams on the same page, automate the creation of “hotfix” reproductions for customer issues – An application’s lifecycle is far longer than its release date. Even if many consumers have gone to the latest and greatest build, a company must still assist users on older versions of a product. This method can be made considerably more efficient by using the cloud, as the test/SE teams can duplicate prior versions using templates and the “gold” version. Then, teams can reproduce the issue at hand rather than the current state, and validate the update with the client.
Go Agile in the Cloud with Stefanini
Agile transformation is not easy. With our expertise in cloud computing, we can help you create innovative business applications and more.
Stefanini’s Agile Application Development expertise, gleaned from the top IT outsourcing crews in Romania, Moldova, Brazil, and the United States, is critical for developing solutions that provide superior support for internal and external end users during your digital transformation.
We provide flexible, cost-effective and high quality application services that meet your responsiveness and value objectives as an agile application development and implementation partner with nearshore, offshore, and onshore delivery capabilities.
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