Mobile and Agile – A Perfect Match?
“Mobile apps are different from other applications in significant ways. They need to have a small footprint and download or update quickly and smoothly. They need to seamlessly interact with back-end servers when needed. This state can only be achieved with several changes and adjustments along with the way. The sprints, enhanced quality assurance and multiple test cycles of Agile development provide all of the necessary ingredients for mobile apps to get there.” – TechTarget.com
Agile can be applied to mobile app projects but there are potential issues to be aware of, including the challenges of organization and process change and the limitations of the mobile enterprise app platform or MEAP that development teams are using.
Simply defined, Agile software development seeks to break down app development into smaller, bite-sized chunks, and integrates quality testing, documentation and review into these smaller steps. Agile software development differs significantly from previous ‘waterfall’ development approaches which sought to predefine requirements ahead of time, and tended to make testing and documentation subsequent steps rather than an integral part of development.
MEAP as constraint?
To simplify mobile app development, many enterprises have adopted MEAPs as a platform for building, deploying and managing apps for multiple device types. MEAPs have generally benefitted the early adoption era for enterprise mobile apps, but could prove to be a constraint as companies seek more development freedom and centralized infrastructure for managing their mobility initiatives.
A MEAP could pose a constraint to being Agile if it locks its users into a proprietary app building tool that is effectively hardwired into the platform’s tools for deployment and ongoing management. As a result, a MEAP that is closed and proprietary tends to force its users to hammer through app building in a straight-line process before they can discover what’s working well and what’s not. This goes against the Agile philosophy of smaller development steps with integrated quality and review built in.
Testers’ on the say:
Agile is a perfect fit for mobile development, which requires quick delivery—very often in a volatile infrastructure. On a regular daily basis, mobile developers deal with issues surrounding inadequate memory and data storage capability, slower devices, security, online/off-line capability, and for the past several years the ever evolving types of devices and associated operating systems environments. All of these issues require fast, effective, and efficient responses to changing requirements, testing, device capability and form factor—among other things. Mobility app platforms that give the user organization freedom of choice with tools, and allow developers to incrementally design build and test apps are better suited to Agile.
The bottom line is that Agile development requires an iterative approach to development that builds quality into each increment of application functionality. An open MEAP that decouples the development tools from the plumbing is consistent with that approach. With the astonishing growth in mobility and mobile apps, enterprise developers need to be able to move quickly with mobility projects, while at the same time improving efficiency, quality, and time to market. An open MEAP can help make this a reality.
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