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Agile Software versus Agile Software Development

by Douwe Pieter van den Bos on August 5, 2011 · 0 comments

We’ve talked about it here before; Agile Software is not the same thing as Agile Software Development. Of course, one of the hottest topics possible these days in Agile Software Development. Recently we even learned that Agile Software Development has become the mainstream development method. But this is not why we develop. It’s just the means to an end.

When looking at Business Agility, or to be more precise Business Software Agility it has nothing to do with scrum or other development methods. It’s about the ability to change, during production and on the long run. This is where new insights (like SOA, BPM, the Cloud, etcetera) come into place.


Looking at the principles of Lean and Agile, it learns us that we should look at value and worth instead of costs. Single processes instead of bulk. Flexibility and change are key words in every lean environment. When we take a look at the principles of Service Oriented Architecture, it has the exact same goals. Software built on those principles offer organizations a framework that can change, easily.

But software build with SOA-tooling and –related technologies is not per se Agile. This is a misunderstanding. And something methodologies like Scrum will not automatically create Agile Business Software. The software has to be designed in a way that it still offers flexibility and therefore is able to change. In other words: when an Service Oriented Architecture is lousy build, despite of the amount of new technology in it, it will not be Agile. Even when the process of coming there is agile.

This does not mean that Agile Software Development is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is one of the most important parts of delivering software that the business actually needs. But we still have to focus on the outcome, not the process coming there.

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