Hybrid Approaches to Agile

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-02-12 Print this article Print


"With varied development projects underway using different methodologies, we needed a solution to accommodate both Agile and non-Agile efforts, yet fit into our existing enterprise architecture," said Timothy Perry, chief technology officer for the Retirement and Protection group at Genworth Financial, in a statement. "By leveraging HP Agile Accelerator with HP Quality Center, we expect to increase efficiencies for each development team, and leverage our previous investments."

Dave West, another analyst at Forrester participated in the HP webcast and further discussed the results of the Forrester study. Noting that more than 35 percent of respondents said they were doing Agile development, West said, "We're seeing the increased use of Agile driving discipline into software development." He added that "We're way beyond the tire-kicking phase; we're beyond pilot projects and people are onto their second and third projects and more broad usage" of Agile development.

However, West said he believes many organizations are using "hybrid approaches" to Agile development, as in not sticking strictly to one methodology, such as Scrum, but using bits and pieces from different Agile methods.

Indeed, Perry, who also participated in the webcast, said at Genworth Financial many teams do not call themselves Agile or follow Agile methods but they borrow from the Agile playbook.

In fact, "We had to re-label some things so they would fit with non-Agile projects," he said. For instance, instead of labeling a development timeframe by the Agile term "sprint" Perry said his team labeled it a "milestone."

West said he defines Agile as "really the ability to respond to change in the most effective way considering the constraints that you're under."

Perry said Genworth does not really care what the methodology is called. "It's about being able to deliver on time, on budget," he said. "Agile is helping us get there, and we want to enable other projects to use it."

Moreover, Perry also said Genworth has used HP's quality control technology for years. The core of the solution comes from HP's acquisition of Mercury Interactive in 2006. However, the HP Agile Accelerator is new to Genworth, he said. Even still, Genworth had to tailor the solution for its purposes and call on HP's services arm for assistance.

HP offers a broad set of consulting services and expertise to support customer application modernization initiatives with Agile practices, including:

  • HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Consulting Services for Agile - comprehensive assessment, design, implementation and management services for ALM and Agile strategies help customers increase the success of projects.
  •  HP ALM Discovery Workshop for Agile - leverages HP Agile Maturity Model to help businesses define a roadmap and adopt Agile to support business objectives. 
  •  Agile Accelerator Packaged Implementation Services - accelerates time to value for customers by tailoring the solution for individual customer needs and environments.
"With Agile quickly becoming a key methodology for application modernization, it is critical for customers to balance quality, performance and security standards with the need for speed," said Jonathan Rende, vice president and general manager of Business Technology Optimization Applications in the Software and Solutions group at HP, in a statement. "HP Agile Accelerator enhances collaboration among developers, quality assurance and business stakeholders to ensure customers meet their Agile objectives without compromising quality."

Education and training for HP ALM solutions also are available in a variety delivery options including virtual, end-user and instructor led. More information is available at www.hp.com/software/education.



Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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