Agile software development techniques and digital technology walk hand in hand. The development techniques are being used across multiple sectors with the rapid digitization of business. Its use is so widespread that it is more surprising to hear that businesses are developing software without its use, than with it. In the digital world, it is necessary to cater to demand quickly as fierce competition means customers have more options that are easily available.
That being said, businesses in sectors such as retail are investing in agile development vigorously. Large corporations are even restructuring their entire IT infrastructures to accommodate agile techniques. At a recent Computer Weekly CW500 Club event, CIO at Thomas Cook, Mariano Albera, stated that big companies could learn a lot from startups, in reference to their product development methods.
“I am an agile software developer and have been doing it all my life and I deliver software quickly,” said Albera. “The customer is the steering committee. It is about the customer telling you what they want by the way they use. Be pragmatic and be very fast. Don’t focus on five-year roadmaps. Focus on small deliverables.”
There are two CIOs at Thomas Cook. Albera uses agile development techniques on the applications at the front end that engage customers, while the other CIO is responsible for IT operations.
According to Mike Burrows, agile expert at management consultancy firm David J Anderson & Associates, the investment banking sector has been doing agile for years but for different reasons. “It could be said that the banks – the investment banks especially – have for long periods been busier competing with each other than focusing on their customers’ needs,” said Burrows.
“But whatever the driver, they have long understood the value of fast delivery and feedback. Flexible architectures – for example distributed systems connected by middleware – have since the 1990s enabled business-aligned teams to release functionality at a pace that suits their respective markets,” he added.
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