It’s easy, when talking about Journey to Agile, to over-focus on technical components, such as Kubernetes and containers. But the transformation journey is about much more than that. Jonas Thorsell, Sales Director of Accelerate at Iver, helps companies with this transformation as part of his role, and he believes it’s vital to emphasise the importance of the big picture perspective.
“The overriding purpose of the transformation is to improve application delivery, i.e. to do it faster, more securely, more flexibly, and with greater reliability. The ultimate aim here is to enable an organisation to deliver greater value for its clients and to increase its competitiveness. And doing this requires taking a big picture approach that looks at everything from technology to processes and organisation,” says Jonas Thorsell.
“We’re currently working on a number of projects with clients who are on this journey, both as part of smaller undertakings, where we’re providing specific expertise for the client’s project, and as part of larger ones, where we provide teams who take responsibility for much of the work involved in building the new technical platform that the client needs.”
Jonas Thorsell notes that the goal of several of the organisations he has encountered was to establish a Kubernetes-based container platform, and that they have consequently focused on the technical solutions needed to achieve that goal. But these projects often don’t work out as expected. He explains:
“After a while, these organisations realise that their journey was an unnecessarily complicated and, in many cases, a very expensive one – and that they still didn’t achieve any real organisational benefits. There’s a very real risk, if you focus on individual technical components, rather than on the overall goal of improving application delivery, that you won’t reap any organisational value from your investment.”
Journey to Agile means creating a culture of cooperation, trust, and open communication between development, operations, and other stakeholders within the organisation. Achieving this often requires an organisational change. You need to break down silos and promote a cooperation-orientated methodology, with every part of the organisation working together towards shared goals.
Automating processes and tasks to enhance developmental and operational efficiency is another important element of the process. It includes automated development, testing, distribution, and monitoring of software. Infrastructure as code (IaC) is another key factor in achieving success. IaC increases the degree of abstraction within your infrastructure, but it also achieves a much higher level of control and increases the security and quality of your operations. And above all, it generates the conditions under which other functions and components can work optimally.
Another important change is promoting the use of CI/CD pipelines to enable continuous integration and delivery of software. The reasoning here is that changes to code in the development phase can be integrated, tested, and distributed quickly and regularly to production (which results in quicker development cycles and the ability to deliver new functionality quickly). Self-service is another key concept in this area: developers must be given quick access (and in line with policy) to the resources they need to carry out their work.
Efficient development and operation of your microservices-based applications requires you to have some form of container in which to run them. The cattle vs pets concept is also introduced at this stage, and means starting to think about your infrastructure in a new way. There are a lot of advantages to a container environment, but there are a lot of traps, too.
Combining modern infrastructure with agile development means being faced with completely new challenges when it comes to security. And this is particularly true when you introduce hybrid- and multi-clouds. You can no longer rely solely on traditional perimeter security, as new user patterns and attack interfaces mean that you need to start looking at policy-controlled and identity-based security. Dynamic secrets become important in restricting external and internal threats. Zero Trust Security is a key concept in this context and is based on the default approach being to trust nobody and nothing. Authentication and authorisation become identity-based, which allows you to know that the right person has access to the right things, which means, in turn, that you also have greater control over your applications and data.
Establishing continuous systems and applications monitoring allows you to identify and action any operating problems or errors quickly. Proactive incident management, meanwhile, enables the team to respond rapidly to problems and minimise interruptions to the system’s availability.
Integrating testing and quality assurance early on in the development process enables errors to be detected and actioned at an early stage. Continuous feedback from users and clients helps to improve systems and applications and ensures that the developed functionality meets real life needs and expectations. Embracing agile principles allows you to evaluate and adapt processes, tools, and methodologies regularly, enabling the organisation to optimise and enhance the efficiency of its development and operational activities over time.
Would you like expert assistance on your transformation journey? Accelerate at Iver has consultants with the cutting-edge expertise required to meet every organisational need in ensuring a successful agile journey. The technical know-how and experience gained from numerous similar projects enables us to help your organisation develop and establish agile methodologies and optimise your operational processes. Find out more about Accelerate at Iver or contact us using the form below.