Over the past two or three years we have seen companies moving towards adopting Scrum or other variations of agile development. I think the main reasons for this has been to give clients more control over the software that is being developed while having the ability to look at the competitors and apply the changes as seen necessary. This is even truer for products that take more than 6 months from conception to delivery.
Back in late 90s – before the dot com bubble burst – anyone who could write simple HTML could quickly write web pages and in the short term hope to make a lot of money. People did not care about the quality of their products as long as they had it out there. But after that bubble burst, with more and more companies failing, companies started to take software development more seriously. One of the things that came out, although it present decades ago, was adoption of rigid waterfall methodology in software development.
Although, waterfall methodology has its own strengths in documentation, strict scheduling and planning and fixed budget, these last two strengths ultimately becomes its weakness as the complexities of projects grow. This problem increases even more so for lengthier projects. With agile on the other hand, while the problems do not just go away, they’re at the very least addressed. For example, instead of defining all the functions today for a product to be delivered 18 months down the road, we will only look at what can be done within the next sprint. It does not mean that the goal of the project is not understood or unimportant. It just means we’re not cramming our developers, architects, project managers and product owners today with what isn’t possible to do. Instead we want to deliver the client the most important part of the project early so if unforeseen changes are necessary, we can do it early. Changes later in the lifecycle of traditional methodologies mean lots of man hours.
Now how agile fits into Atlassian’s products is summed up by two words – “Continuous Integration”. Back in 2010 when I worked on project called Project Management Office Dashboard, I was working on integrating JIRA with the PMO Dashboard with the help of Greenhopper’s remote API. We were using Scrum and we needed to be able to streamline JIRA and PMO so that users could access JIRA from within PMO dashboard. While we were working on this, the other tools came in handy such as Crucible for code review. Code review is one of best practices of agile. If we’re writing code and checking in every couple hours with the help of Bamboo (another Atlassian tool) build server, we sure want the code to be reviewed as frequently even if the builds are successful.
So in brief, adoption of agile and using Atlassian tools go hand-in-hand. In the coming years, I am sure there will be some form of agile development and at least a handful of Atlassian set of tools used by most IT companies all over the globe.