Agile Mobile Development – Why Must Enterprises Adjust?

Agile Mobile Development – Why Must Enterprises Adjust?

The more I read and discuss with my colleagues and clients about software development processes, the more the word “AGILE” is repeated and brought up around the table.

As a start-up product company we endorsed agile development long ago; and slowly we see that even large organizations, that fall under massive regulation and immense bureaucratic procedures, are moving toward agile development – in many cases, starting their mobile projects.

What is Agile, and how “agile” is it?

I found the following definition for “agile software development” on Wikipedia, and I think it’s quite comprehensive. “Agile software development set of software development methods in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change”.

To sum up, an organization that wants to follow the agile development method must collaborate, work continuously, act rapidly and be very flexible.
For many enterprises, agile development can be complicated to adopt. Agility within an enterprise translates into shortening procedures and exceeding processes while preserving regulations, security and infrastructure requirements.

Is such agility possible?

It is! Agile development should be viewed as a relative concept. We cannot expect enterprises to develop and deploy at the rapid pace of a dynamic startup company (I know I wouldn’t want my bank to do so!), but even enterprises have to adjust to our ever changing world and ensure they are not left behind.

Where do we start?

Mobile is a great place to start. Being new to any company, mobility projects are a good experimental field for any enterprise to practice “agile” development. At its essence, mobility encompasses all the agile development components – from rapid to flexible, and from collaborative to continuous.
Can mobile projects be handled any other way? Probably not successfully. Maybe this is also the reason why enterprises have developed and released only 6.3 apps on average– whereas many of the responders didn’t release any app at all (according to a Gartner survey from 2015). Agile development is still difficult for enterprises – but it is feasible.

From agile mobility to agile SDLC

Mobile is different from what we know in terms of Software Development Life Cycles (SDLC) as it provides fast responses and constantly changes in so many aspects. As opposed to the “legacy” SDLC, we have to react fast with new devices, channels, user behavior, functionalities and more, and it seems like the mobile development is never really over! Apps are constantly in development and are different from the known longer fixed-timeline projects. Apps remain in development for as long as they are alive and used! This is exactly why the continuous mode of agile development works so perfectly well with mobile apps development. But mobile is not alone. There are other enterprise development cycles that are similar to mobile development in their definition and results.

The most obvious one is web development – would we consider web development as a one-time project? Not really – here as well – a good website or web applications has to react (possibly) fast to required changes – to adding new functionalities, removing them, testing, deploying and all over again in a continuous cycle. Agile development is relevant for many other SDLC’s – enterprises will just have to find the right way to use it.

Mobility forces many enterprises to change their traditional development processes and to adapt to an on-going changing world. Mobile projects are also a good starting point for more hesitant organizations who are willing to give agile development a chance but are not eager to try it on their core systems. In many ways, enterprise mobility entered agile development for enterprises through the back door – organizations that choose to ignore agile development choose to ignore mobility, and companies that will be fast enough to adopt – will gain in productivity, revenues and relevance.