Many organizations need to respond quickly to market demands and changing regulation, and develop new products and services ever more rapidly. They extend the reach of their products and services beyond their own borders, creating both new opportunities and new dependencies.
Successfully dealing with such changes requires a high level of flexibility of the IT systems that support the products and services. No comprehensive approach for the development of such services currently exists. This project wants to change that.
The project focus was the agile development of services. If user requirements or the environment change, we want to adapt our services quickly. Agility is the ability to deal easily with such changes in requirements and environment. Agile development embraces change as a positive force and harnesses it for the customer's competitive advantage.
We recognize two kinds of agility:
Together, these two kinds of agility may result in nimble organizations that use change to their advantage, outmanoeuvering competitors with shorter time-to-market, lower development costs and higher customer satisfaction.
In this project, we have focused on the agile development of services. In short, a service is a self-contained unit of functionality that offers a meaningful value to its environment. By concentrating on service development, we focus on the value that organizations provide to their environment. Of course, these services are realized by all kinds of business processes, software applications and technical infrastructure. However, these are subordinate to the services they deliver.
Agile development is scary, especially for management. There is little upfront assurance about the end result, although experience with agile software development shows that customer satisfaction is higher and budget overruns are lower. However, not all types of services or systems are equally suited for agile development. For example, iteratively developing an airplane's avionics systems and having it fall out of the sky in the first few iterations does not seem such a good idea. Hence, we need a good balance between agility and control. This also comprises the role of architecture in agile development.
The project has resulted in an extensive set of methods, approaches and instruments. These are described in two books:
In the project, we have developed a card game to help you get acquainted with the agile development of services. You can get more information and download rules and forms from the ASD game page.
the following organizations have participated in the project: Be Informed, BiZZdesign, Everest, IBM, O&i, PGGM, RuleManagement Group, Voogd & Voogd, CRP Henri Tudor, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Universiteit Twente, Universiteit en Hogeschool Utrecht, TNO and Novay.
The project was part of the program Service Innovation & ICT (www.si-i.nl) of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.
More information: Marc Lankhorst, project manager.