What Insurers Need to Know Before Adopting Agile Development

Adopting the Agile methodology for software development can be a challenge for insurance IT organizations, but the benefits of Agile Development outweigh the risks.
June 15, 2012

The Truth About Agile Development: It Isn't Easy, But It Works

By Ray Scott, Director of Agile Services, GT Agile, Grid Tools’ Consultancy Practice (Oxford, U.K.)

Here’s a known truth: Regardless of the business, developing a new product or attempting to rescue a failing product utilizing the principles of Agile is difficult.

Most people fail when transitioning to Agile. When a task becomes difficult to complete, they revert to familiar practices. Asking people to move away from their comfort zone isn’t easy.

The Agile mind-set requires an infrastructure built to support the belief that software can be created with quality and be customer-centric, over and above the priorities of velocity, scope and cost. It requires a strong regimen — more than any other methodology. Hiring the right people that are focused on the success of the product and the methods adopted is an essential first step.

It is useful to accept that the adoption of Agile is often slow as teams learn how to best work together. Management must understand that to become truly agile, it must empower its teams to make the product success their primary goal. Then traditional roles will transition to support the successful incremental deployment of high-quality code.

So why is it rare to hear about successful implementations of Agile? In my experience, it is because when a company develops a high-quality product faster than the competition, achieving high customer satisfaction, it is not interested in broadcasting to the competition how it is possible.

Agile is not easy, and there is no recipe book for success. However, with vision and good implementation, the results in software can be extraordinary.

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