The landscape of modern technology as well as the way it impacts business operations has transformed since agile methodologies were created. In the past 18 months, that rate of change has greatly accelerated. Let's take a look at just how much agile has helped us adapt to this uncertain time as well as the way that COVID-19 has impacted the agile principles that we can continue to rely on.
The landscape of modern technology as well as the way it impacts business operations has transformed since agile methodologies were created. Throughout the pandemic, the nation's workforce has become more remote than ever before. This has led to an unprecedented number of remote workers, which presents numerous challenges to productivity; nowhere is this more true than in the world of agile methodologies.
And yet despite the hurdles that 2020 has thrown at us, the values that remain at the heart of agile still stand resolute. Looking ahead to the remainder of 2021 and beyond, software development firms that want to give their agility a boost can align their testing approaches with the agile principles that got us through the pandemic. To that end, let's take a look at just how much agile has helped us adapt to this uncertain time as well as the way that COVID-19 has impacted the agile principles that we can continue to rely on.
Synchronized Agility with DevOps
The workforce that's shifted to remote locations also must contend with networks that are becoming more diffuse as the edge gets farther away. This rapid expansion of the remote workforce creates a unique challenge for developers as well as other IT professionals to continue deploying quality software while balancing the speed of releases and the stability and reliability of the applications that they create. Agile and, in particular, DevOps have evolved to help strike this balance and enable a positive customer experience in a short time frame.
DevOps is devoted to two main principles: improved collaboration and efficiency of internal operations. It is, according to DevOps expert Barbara Ericson of Cloud Defense, “an innovation that’s aimed at delivering high-quality software products to the end-user at a consistently quick rate. DevOps is as much a cultural practice as it is technological optimization, based on applying agile methods and lean manufacturing principles.”
Agile testing practices have remained both viable and desirable for software development companies that need to code, build, test, and deploy software as a continuous process. DevOps, which is essentially synchronized agility that integrates development, QA, and operations, is a mature take on these testing practices, which have helped QA teams improve the velocity of their agile/DevOps environment with the proper coverage that's aligned to the appropriate risks. Synchronized agility has been essential during the pandemic to drive prompt operational support and fast resolutions to problems that align with stakeholder expectations and, most importantly, ensure the deployment of quality software within tight timelines.
Uninterrupted Project Management with Collaboration Software
Agile is a methodology that is rooted in continuous collaboration as well as communication between your team members and your client. It's no surprise, then, that agile principles apply themselves to and integrate so well with collaboration software. After all, people who feel that they're actively contributing to a project and working toward a common objective with others stay engaged with their work for longer periods of time. This comes as no surprise considering that a core tenet of the agile methodology is a balance between output, speed, and team collaboration.
There are only so many resources that organizations, and specifically software development firms, can rely on in a largely remote landscape. Among those venerable resources is quality collaboration software, which provides valuable insight into previous customer engagements and helps you stay connected with clients and team members on a completely remote basis. Business owners running organizations both big and small can use project management software to efficiently manage multiple client relationships while staying on track and on budget even while working remotely.
So what exactly are the features that organizations should keep an eye out for when searching for quality collaboration software? The ideal choice for a project management software solution for uninterrupted and agile collaboration is one that comes with critical features like centralized web-based file storage, automatic storage of project updates on the cloud, and a bird's eye project overview that displays the status of collaborators and clients involved on a project. Such solutions include these features to enable easy access to important project deliverables as well as simple client collaboration while working completely remotely.
Quickly Deployable Cybersecurity Responses with DevSecOps
With a remotely dispersed workforce comes the greater risk of exposure to malicious threat actors and cyber threats. Arguably the biggest challenge that comes with post-COVID remote work is the overarching challenge to protect employee and customer data while enabling uninterrupted continuity of business operations. The principles of agile once again come to the rescue to make this balance a reality and ensure that security risks don't increase in the future.
Quickly deployable cybersecurity in response to identified and potential security threats is possible with the help of agile and DevSecOps methodologies and mindsets. Merging into a DevSecOps model can help ensure that all servers are handled under a universal security policy that blocks outside threats. It’s important, however, to be aware of the security risks that come with DevOps, including a wide attack surface. Remember that hackers are always looking for new ways to infiltrate IT systems and either steal data or take down infrastructure, usually with a monetary goal in mind.
DevSecOps is all about automation and agility, so it's a good idea to follow basic security procedures such as using enterprise firewalls, regularly auditing server logs, and mandating employee VPN usage. Surprisingly, only roughly a third of global users work while using a VPN.
This means that in many cases, private company data is sent over public networks completely unencrypted. As Toronto-based cybersecurity expert Ludovic Rembert of Privacy Canada notes, you should always use a VPN when connected to a public network, because if you don’t, “Every piece of information you send over the internet, from pictures of your cat to your tax return, can potentially be intercepted.”
You should always include using a VPN with your DevSecOps approach. Doing so is one of the simplest and yet most effective strategies to keep data private over unencrypted networks.
The agile methodologies and mindsets that helped us through the last year are here to stay, including synchronized agility with DevOps, continuous project management and team collaboration with quality software products, and quickly deployable and responsible cybersecurity with the help of agile-enabled DevSecOps approaches.
Agile has successfully shifted and adapted to guide us through this turbulent time, and it's worth maintaining a high level of respect for the agile mindset even as organizations begin to turn partially or fully to an office-based setting.