One of the overwhelming trends observed in the Agile India 2013 conference at Bangalore was the broadening of Agile’s scope beyond software development.
Speaker after speaker made this evident by covering wide range of topics from manufacturing to operations and from quality assurance to entrepreneurship where agile is driving innovation.
Neal ford mentioned in his keynote address that software development itself has become a part of every company. There are several examples of software engineers applying their knowledge across disciplines to solve orthogonal problems. Scrum is becoming widely applicable in different functions like HR and finance.
The origin of software development using agile techniques can be traced to Toyota production systems. Unused code in software development is the waste that “Agile” tries to minimize the way “Lean” focuses on minimizing WIP. The way agile recommends cross functional teams is very similar to the way Toyota did away with conveyor belt to adopt multi skilling.
Agile is finding its roots in operations of systems and production by breaking the silos and combining development and operations in new discipline called DevOps. Larger organizations like Amazon have promoted their teams to build and run the software built by them. Thus removing the need to have separate IT operations.
Entrepreneurs all over the world are following the principles of the lean start up propounded by Eric Ries. Agile community has several promoters of the “Lean Start-up” movement like Jez Humble, Owen Rogers, Rebecca Parsons to name a few. Agile has extended the value stream by encompassing operations of web and cloud servers. Unlike in the past were only IT operations were responsible for up time, increasingly development teams with polyglot mindset have internalized the use of tools to automate testing and deployment in production. This change has made technology as the business driver which has resulted in organizations becoming more responsive to competition. These tools have also expanded the scope of agile to cover test marketing using techniques such as A/B testing, canary releases and feature toggles. Some of these sessions sounded like “Startup 101 for Agilists” or “Agile 101 for startups” .