If you have been in business for a while you know that buzzwords come and buzzwords go. Many are like fashions or the latest pop star—by the time you figure out what they mean, they drop off the radar. But some buzzwords represent truly important and long-lasting innovations. And one of these is “agile.” If you Google the term agile you get nearly 80 million results, placing it squarely in the buzz zone. But agile methodology is a buzzword with meaning and a buzzword worth keeping.
The agile approach—whether it is deployed in manufacturing, project management or software development—uses an iterative, incremental methodology that applies continuous feedback to keep the project on course. This is in stark contrast to the traditional, linear approach—the classic assembly line or the waterfall approach that has been used in software projects (and has its origins in manufacturing). It also enables greater flexibility, responsiveness to customer input, and—perhaps most important—at a much greater speed.
At the Oracle OpenWorld going on in San Francisco, I will moderate a panel discussion – The Race for Agility: Creating a Competitive Edge with the Cloud. During this session, we will share insights on fresh approaches to migrating to cloud.
At TCS, we have adopted an agile methodology named Express for implementing new cloud applications and we have used it for a wide range of customers for cloud projects. As with other development methods, we start with a client workshop. In our model, it’s more like show and tell. We listen to the client team, configure on the fly, then show the customer the results.
The overwhelming edge that this process gives us is speed. For example, using the Express method, we were able to get a procurement cloud system online for a major EPC (Engineering Project Contraction) company in five weeks. For Vail Resorts, we were able to implement payroll and human resource management clouds in 13 weeks. It would have taken much longer using the waterfall method and it gave the client a system that was better tailored to its needs because of what we learned along the way.
Another client, QIAGEN, used the Express methodology both for speed and to better manage a project spread across teams in Europe, the United States, and India. Parts of the project were broken down into two-week sprints and assigned to multiple teams. The agile method also helped the company, which supplies testing kits to customer who develop biotech products, to implement parts of the new cloud-based system while legacy applications were still running.
So, remember, it pays to be agile. This is one buzzword is here to stay for a long long time!
If you are at OOW, join me today at the Yerba Buena Center of Arts Theater at 11 AM. I will moderate a panel discussion with our customers from Glory Global Solutions, Knowles corporation and Oracle. I look forward to discussing the competitive edge with the Cloud.