The Power of Scaling Agile While Maintaining Control

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Delivering high-quality software stresses most IT organizations. Software operates in complex technical environments, complicating analysis and design. Teams are diverse and distributed, challenging collaboration and development of shared understanding. And outdated processes and independent development tools tend to silo business analysts, designers, developers, and testers, adding overhead to what CIOs wish could be an efficient flow of quality information, activities, and outputs.

And the business doesn’t want to hear about it. They have their own challenges! Competition is high, calling for better quality and faster time-to-market. IT can no longer be viewed as a cost center. It must be highly responsive, enable increased customer value, and partner with the business to innovate quickly and meet customer demands – high expectations given the fact that most CIOs have been in their roles less than 3 years on average.

Fortunately, software development processes have evolved (and continue to mature) to meet changing needs. And while we may not realize it, we’ve been along for the ride for some time now. We’ve recognized that the mega-projects of the 80’s often ended in disaster, so thought leaders started working on better, faster development methods in the 90’s. Agile crystallized and was formalized in the early 2000’s, emphasizing a developer-centric, fluid approach to delivery. Software product companies embraced it and thrived. IT on the other hand? Not so much.

Over the last decade, IT organizations have adopted Agile to varying degrees and with varying levels of success. The biggest challenge? Being able to scale Agile for use across different project types, particularly when it comes to defining software requirements. Large IT organizations have to deal with real-world challenges like regulatory compliance, corporate security, outsourcing, and distributed teams. To do this, teams need capabilities for robust requirements analysis, complex traceability, change control, and audit. They need structure for defining requirements that Agile methods just don’t provide.

Increasingly, we know the key to success in these environments is melding Agile methods with traditional – having the ability to use increased rigor for some projects while taking a lighter-weight approach to others – all while providing a portfolio view across all IT investments. Blueprint’s best-in-class requirements platform helps teams meet this goal, providing robust capabilities for requirements definition, analysis, traceability, and reuse, along with the flexibility to tailor information and processes for differing methodologies.

But requirements only provide value to the extent that they are made available to the rest of the project. As stated by Tasktop CEO Mik Kersten: “Requirements are the currency of the software development lifecycle.” For this reason, Blueprint has recently partnered with Tasktop – a company whose products automate and integrate the tools used in IT organizations – to seamlessly integrate Blueprint with a broad range of other leading software lifecycle tools.

The combined Blueprint-Tasktop solution lets teams on many projects efficiently define and develop applications using different tools and a range of methods, including agile at scale. And lets CIOs sleep a little easier.

For more information on the powerful integration between Blueprint and other application lifecycle products via Tasktop Sync, please visit Blueprint at http://www.blueprintsys.com/.  

About The Author


Tony Higgins

A leading expert on all things software application lifecycle related, Tony Higgins has amassed a broad base of skills and experience in software and technology marketing, development, delivery and enablement.  Having worked with both start-up and enterprise-level organizations over a 30 year career, Tony offers a comprehensive perspective on both the technical and business requirements that drive successful implementation results.