Tech teams rely on IT methodology frameworks.  To execute a body of work or work project effectively, your team need to know the structure their work will take.

IT methodology models ensure that the workflow is understood and that the team are aligned. Without one, you risk a disordered team where collaboration is weak, miscommunications are high, and delivery of the project is delayed.

Here are some of the IT methodologies that are most valued by tech leaders, why they are so highly valued, and why they may not be right for your project.

IT Methodologies.

DevOps.

DevOps is so widely used because it aims to resolve any disconnect between your development and operations teams. By uniting these two teams in a continuous development process, DevOps goes beyond just improving communications. Instead it removes the barriers between these traditionally siloed teams.

Unlike some of the other IT Methodologies, DevOps emphasises the constant testing and delivery of a product. It uses automation to accelerate the production process enabling code to be continuously delivered to the end-user. This methodology results in swifter and more reliable update releases which in turn, means happier customers.

The advantages of DevOps.

  • Efficient production cycles and quicker time to market
  • A single vision of the product across teams and the company
  • Faster product shipments equal satisfied customers.

The challenges of DevOps.

  • DevOps needs to be accepted by the entire organisation to be successful.
  • Speed and security need to be balanced.

Agile.

While DevOps involves multiple departments and diverse skill sets, Agile values tighter, smaller teams with similar skill sets.  There is also a discernible difference when it comes to the working process. Agile favours incremental updates and changes (normally weekly, or bi-weekly) while DevOps modifies through testing continuously.

The Agile IT methodology continues to be popular. Many believe this is as much to do with its philosophy as its process.  Agile teams tend to be welcoming and stimulating places, where all input is valued, and all team members are encouraged to be a part of the development process.

The advantages of Agile.

  • A collaborative and welcoming working model.
  • The team is encouraged to concentrate on the elements of the project that matter most; features are released when they are ready.
  • The focus is on flexibility and response to change
  • Minimal documentation

The challenges of Agile.

  • Some team members struggle with little documentation and non–arbitrary deadlines.
  • The development team and operations teams may be limited by a lack of cohesion.

ITIL.

Some methodologies, Agile for example, have quite a narrow focus on software development.  In comparison, ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) is a holistic framework. It is intended to ensure that all an organisation’s IT services align with the needs of the business.

Using ITIL’s best practices over the entire framework journey – strategy, design, transition, operation, and continual improvement – a company can both improve its services and reduce costs.

Although it’s been around since the 1980s, ITIL underwent a new iteration in 2019; ITIL4.  This release updated the framework to reflect the need for modern IT departments to be agile, flexible and collaborate across departments.  ITIL4 is in tune with modern business cultures. It is simple and practical, placing value on thinking and working holistically.

The advantages of ITIL.

  • A 4 decade reign as an IT methodology heavyweight, ITIL has a vast body of knowledge and best practices amongst its users.
  • Helps organizations put forward a coherent and verifiable business case for the full range of their IT services.
  • Implementing ITIL guidelines and best practices have allowed many businesses achieve significant cost savings

The challenges of ITIL.

  • Its longevity can result in many managers ignoring pragmatic solutions to problems through an over reliance on ITIL methodologies.
  • Rather than implementing ITIL in phases, managers may try to improve too many areas at once.
  • Unlike approaches like Agile, ITIL requires high levels of commitment from senior executives.

Lean.

Lean by name, lean by nature.  This IT methodology encourages project teams to focus on one thing at a time, and scales down all needless processes: unnecessary team meetings, for example.

Agile was born from Lean, and as such, shares many values. Both look to find new and better ways of working and value the empowerment of teams to reach their full potential.

Lean and Agile are so similar, that many IT managers refer to a Lean-Agile approach. However, there are differences between the two approaches.  One area where they differ is the approach to customer satisfaction.  Agile is more reactive. It assumes that customers have changing needs and aims to respond quickly to them. In comparison, Lean is more proactive. It intends to eliminate waste with the desire to create more value for customers.

The advantages of Lean.

  • Eliminates activities that don’t add value which helps teams stay productive
  • Motivates workers by prioritising meaningful tasks.

The challenges of Lean.

  • Lean requires up front planning as leaders need to identify the unnecessary areas in the current workflow and team activities.
  • Lean principles such as “decide as late as possible” need high levels of skill and resilience from team members.

Scrum.

Another distant relative of Lean, scrum is a sub-branch of the Agile methodology. Scrum focuses on continuous collaboration and delivery through short development cycles called ‘sprints.  Scrum requires daily stand-ups to facilitate team interaction and share feedback.   The leader, a ‘scrum master’, is tasked with keeping the team on track and goal oriented.

The advantages of Scrum.

  • A straightforward approach helps team members stay focused on their goals
  • Implementation of feedback after each sprint helps eliminate errors for more satisfied customers.

The challenges of Scrum.

  • Team members must commit to daily meetings.
  • Every team member is a vital part of the project.  Significant gaps are left behind thanks to sickness or team departures before the end of a project.

IT methodologies. A collaboration.

These are the big 5 IT methodologies, however, it’s worth saying that very rarely are any of these frameworks used in complete exclusivity. Many principles of each make sense in almost any scenario. Even if you are a die-hard DevOps fan, it’s difficult to argue against the Lean “do more with less” mentality.

Tech leaders should choose the method that is best for the project and then cherry-pick the best bits of the others.

Are you looking to build out your software team?  Whether you require DevOps talent or a Scrum master, we can help. Reach out today to talk to Ignite Digital about all your tech talent needs.

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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