HP has announced a series of enhancements to its tool set for Agile software development, the HP Agile Accelerator, and is banking on its expertise to help enterprise customers modernize legacy applications and build better new ones.
In a Feb. 11 Webcast, HP discussed its Agile platform and shared how its HP Agile Accelerator can help customers increase the quality of their applications, enhance productivity, and respond to changing business scenarios quickly and cost-effectively.
Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.
Mark Sarbiewski, senior director of products, for HP Software & Solutions, said Agile development is changing not only software development, but software delivery models.
Moreover, Sarbiewski said HP looks at Agile as an accelerator for application modernization efforts.
“We see our customers involved in probably the largest application refresh in history,” he said.
Sarbiewski said HP looks at application modernization across five key areas: technology, architecture, teams, process and platform. And the evolution in each area has moved: from proprietary to open for technology; from being in silos and monolithic to integrated and modular for architecture; from local, dedicated teams to virtual, shared teams; from lengthy waterfall-based processes to accelerated, Agile processes; and from a strictly on-premise platform to the cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environments.
“With legacy systems we see a lot of things that are hard to maintain and costly, but we want and need to be more agile and responsive,” Sarbiewski said.
Based on HP Quality Center software and HP Application Lifecycle Management consulting services, HP Agile Accelerator manages Agile development projects from proposal to production while helping IT departments better meet their application modernization initiatives.
HP Agile Accelerator helps software development teams improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their business initiatives with predefined workflows, configurations and user reports. Recent enhancements include a built-in resource planning module, which allows development teams to better manage their Agile projects.
“Application development organizations are increasingly adopting Agile development practices to better manage risk and cut development costs,” said Margo Visitacion, an analyst with Forrester Research, said in a statement. “It’s time for testing to become more Agile as well. Traditional end-of-the-life-cycle testing is dead.”
Recognizing the need to align applications to business priorities, one of the top initiatives for IT decision makers is to modernize existing legacy applications. According to a recent Forrester report, almost 60 percent of respondents rated application modernization initiatives as “very important” or “important.”
By using HP Agile Accelerator for application modernization initiatives, customers can:
“Improve business agility with faster response to changing requirements: Change impact analysis allows application teams to understand how a change to a given shared component may affect dependent applications.Reduce the risk of application performance degradation by finding defects earlier in the life cycle: With the ability to run security and performance tests in an Agile delivery model, enterprises can prevent the release of faulty software, saving time and money.Increase return on investment by delivering quality software early and frequently throughout the application life cycle: With prebuilt process workflows and user roles, application teams can reduce scoping errors and deliver software more frequently.Enhance productivity through greater collaboration: Standardized progress reporting improves visibility and communication across multiple teams.“
Hybrid Approaches to Agile
“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.