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Thoughts from KMC

To Agile or Not To Agile?

Kgomotso Sediane

November 2016

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I suppose the real question is….why should I change?

Every time I think of change I’m reminded of two things. The first is a quote from a Greek Philosopher called Heraclitus: “change is the only constant”. The second one is a story of Kodak and how their downfall is attributed to complacency, which subsequently suffocated their ability to innovate.

Being in the digital space, change is the constant which we have to embrace; well at least history suggests we should, if we want to succeed in the 21 Century. But what does this mean? Do we now hand everything over to the machines and hope we’ve done a good job in programming them and instructing them what to do for us? Do we just sit and watch and hope that machines will be better than us? Not quite, at least that’s what KMC believes.

Change is the only constant

We understand the market is constantly changing and we need to change with our customer’s needs. So we mould our delivery practices to this reality; that change is constant. KMC believes in understanding its customers through user research, persona mapping, user testing and rapid paper prototypes just to name a few techniques that we use, in tying these insights iteratively into the technology we build. We believe this process of understanding our customers first shouldn’t only be done at the beginning of the project but throughout the delivery cycle till the project ends. This ensures that we are incorporating the latest insights from our customers as we build the software. It’s about putting our end-users first. The short fall exists when we forget that all these awesome and amazing world of digital exists for the benefit of Humans. An on-line banking application, a health assessment application, a social media app … And the list continues. In all that we do, it’s always been important and always will remain important, that whatever we do in the digital space becomes more user-centric now more than ever before.

It’s not enough to just become user-centric in the digital space. We need to ensure we are exposing new software features and providing quality software to our customers in an incremental and rapid pace. Just incorporating these great customer insights into our software and deploying them after an extended period of time, say 3 months, doesn’t put us ahead of our competitors. We need a strong technical backbone and excellence to complement our user-centric way of building software. Well, the Agile Software Development framework is built around this. It encompasses creating environments and practices that enable us to deploy code to production safely and pragmatically in very small iterative time-boxes. In the right conditions this could be every 2 weeks.

Is quality important? What is Quality where you are?

What about quality? You might ask. Well, quality is a non-negotiable. It is imperative that we provide our customers with a quality product. So how does the Agile Software Development framework manage this? Well, it builds quality into the development cycle instead of thinking of quality at the very end before we go live. This is done by early software testing and incorporating automation in our day-to-day software development.

This however, does require a mind-set shift. With the first step being acknowledging that this change might not be as impossible as we think. Having witnessed agile transformation in South African Banks such as Standard bank and FNB we can boldly say no matter how big the ship is, it can most certainly change direction and respond better to change. This is the time to incorporate agility into your business and be a leader.

If the your aim is to grab market share and being the ahead of the game with software that will not only delight your customers but also has a strong technical backbone; then KMC is your technology partner

Khabane Majestic Consulting – “The digital revolution is here. Gear up for change to unleash your agility

Kgomotso Sediane