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A Tech Leaders 2023 Playbook

The Anatomy of a Successful Application Modernization
From embracing an Agile process to adopting DevSecOps and leveraging cloud adoption accelerators, this playbook is your go-to guide for achieving enterprise-grade quality in your application modernization journey. Share this resource with your team and get started on your modernization today!

App Modernization Expert: Carolin

Part 8

How to Adopt an Agile Framework

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Agile practices are crucial for the success of modernizing your legacy Java applications. By embracing an Agile mindset, your team can work collaboratively, incrementally, and transparently, delivering workable solutions in small increments. In this chapter, we will explore how to adopt an Agile framework to support the modernization of your Java legacy applications.

What is Agile and why is it important?

Agile is a set of principles used in software development and project management that emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and customer satisfaction. By implementing Agile practices, your team can work more efficiently, adapt quickly to change, and deliver solutions that meet customer needs.

What is an Agile team structure?

An Agile team structure typically includes a product owner and a Scrum team led by a Scrum Master, who is accountable for the team's effectiveness. The Scrum framework is widely used in Agile and involves breaking down work into sprints, which are fixed-length iterations of work that usually last between one and four weeks. The team works together to deliver a working increment of the product at the end of each sprint. In addition to the product owner and Scrum Master, the team may also include developers, testers, designers, and other roles as needed. Agile teams are designed to be flexible and adaptable, with a focus on delivering value to customers through continuous improvement.

Why select Agile over Waterfall

Agile is in distinct contrast to a traditional Waterfall Approach. The Waterfall Approach is consecutive and siloed. It goes from design to development to qualitative assurance (QA) without iteration and no feedback loop. Waterfall starts with gathering all requirements to deliver a product at the end, and for many things, it works well.

Legacy systems are typically known as a product that has served your business for years, perhaps decades but simply can not keep up to the needs of todays market. The process of transforming legacy applications involves technical expertise, an agile process and a highly engaged team to execute on your modernization with speed and quality. It's important to think about your application modernization project in phases, each with its own roadmap, budget and set of requirements. Alongside that, your transformation includes a level of change management throughout your team and your current processes.

With Agile organizations gain the ability to transform efficiently with an iterative, and collaborative approach. Through this method you create an environment for product managers, architects, developers, designers and QA leads to work holistically. In contrast, the Waterfall method has a linear approach, addressing transformation in a single sequence, causing segregated workflows, longer lead times and making it difficult to adapt to the evolving needs of the market.

Agile provides the opportunity to explore all the best options to deliver the most resilient outcome. With Agile your teams aren't held back or kept in the dark. they are a unit working in tandem to uncover the right solution rapidly while responding to change in real-time. That’s why Agile is a better approach for building modern applications – they aren’t just products with functions, they are solutions for business problems.

How do you become Agile?

Becoming Agile requires a shift in mindset and a willingness to embrace change. It's not just about adopting a set of practices or tools, but rather a way of thinking and working that values collaboration, feedback, and continuous improvement.  

To become Agile, organizations should start by establishing a culture of psychological safety, where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and feedback. This requires leadership to value transparency and create an environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute. Research by McGill University shows that if employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas with leaders and peers, they’re likely to feel engaged, help identify risks and embrace collaborative learning.

From there, teams can start to implement Agile practices such as daily stand-up meetings, sprint planning, and retrospectives to improve collaboration and communication. Over time, the team's processes, tools, and mindset will evolve, and they will become more Agile in their approach to work. It's important to remember that Agile is a journey, not a destination, and requires ongoing effort and commitment to achieve success.

To become Agile, there are many resources and tools available to help organizations adopt Agile methodologies to support their teams during their Java legacy application modernization journey.  

  • Architech's Agile 101 Workshop - Provides training and coaching to help organizations learn and apply Agile practices effectively. It's a great starting point for understanding what Agile is and how it can be implemented.
  • Agile Manifesto - A collection of values and principles that provide a foundation for Agile methodologies.
  • The Scrum Guide is another essential resource for Agile teams, providing a detailed overview of the Scrum framework, including the roles, artifacts, and events that make up a Scrum project.  

These resources can be used to help organizations become more Agile and effectively manage complex projects while modernizing their legacy Java applications.

How to begin adopting Agile at your organization

When it comes to adopting Agile at your organization, there are a few steps you can take to get started. One of the first things you should do is embrace rituals such as "the daily stand up" and "sprints." These rituals help to facilitate collaboration, transparency, and accountability among team members. The daily stand up, for example, is a quick, daily meeting where team members can discuss progress, roadblocks, and goals, helping to ensure that everyone is on the same page and any issues are addressed quickly.

Another important step is to seek out resources and training to help your team members understand Agile principles and practices. For example, Architech's Agile 101 Workshop provides training and coaching to help organizations adopt Agile methodologies, supporting your team during their application modernization journey. Additionally, the Agile Manifesto and Scrum Guide are both excellent resources to help you understand the principles and practices of Agile and Scrum, respectively.

Finally, it's important to be patient and committed to the process. Becoming Agile is not something that can be achieved overnight, and it requires a willingness to continuously learn and adapt. However, with the right mindset, tools, and support, you can successfully adopt Agile methodologies and support the success of your Java legacy application modernization project.

To get started with your Agile journey, we recommend connecting with our Agile Lead to book an Agile 101 workshop. This training and coaching session will help you and your team adopt Agile methodologies to support your Java application modernization journey. Schedule a call with us today to learn more and kickstart your Agile journey.

Sr. Client Partner Manager & Agile Lead, Architech

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