Agility is something you must have heard about in the last decade or so. You might even work in an agile way in your organization. What is agile exactly? Let’s first look at the definition in the dictionary: an agile mind is having a quick resourceful and adaptable character. Translate that in IT and get a new way of developing software, quick and adaptable. It is an all-natural evolution of the waterfall methods of software development. The breakdown of development into a number of pieces that are actually executed sequentially rather than altogether, has not been a success. When you only test the software after the requirements have been established and the software was developed making changes, wastes a lot of time. Agile and for instance Scrum, break down long development cycles into manageable projects of a couple of weeks with cross functional teams and the end users involved. But it’s not that new. The agile manifesto was written in 2001 and is 18 years old. Before agile, there was Rapid-application development, Dynamic systems development method (DSDM) and all kinds of other approaches to improve software development. We wanted better development methodologies that got us better software and faster.
The essence of Agile
Agile is not one ‘thing’ but a number of approaches or methodologies to develop faster. Think about Scrum, Kanban and other frameworks. The Wikipedia definition describes the broader view. But agility is about one word in the dictionary definition: Adaptable! For me, agility is being able to change course as quickly as possible. Your IT should be like a speedboat, not an oil tanker. Mind you, I am talking more about the manoeuvrability in this case than about speed. You should be able to take advantage of digital opportunities quickly, otherwise the competition might already have done that. Not to make you paranoid, but the competition is trying to take your market share. So, you better act fast. And faster development is something that we need. Because the time to market is getting shorter and shorter and the difference between winning and losing in business might be who the first person is to introduce a service or an app. Are you prepared for the changes of tomorrow?
Agile Cloud API First
Having an agile approach can surely help in a short time to market. Especially when you combine it with an API first strategy and API Management. APIs are really the best thing since sliced bread, as far as I am concerned. They are easy to use, have a well-defined interface and can be managed. A managed API is different from a normal API in the sense that you have control over the API in all the areas where it matters. For instance, lifecycle management, usage monitoring and monetization of an API.
The cloud is such an essential part of this strategy. It’s like having an unlimited computing resource at your fingertips. The cloud has revolutionized the way we think of hardware, it should be virtual! I often use the terms shiny frontend and dirty backend if I talk about APIs. The API is the shiny frontend that obscures all of the intricacies of the backend together with an Enterprise Integrator that makes sure that whatever the backend desires it will get it. You need to have an overview of the processes in the organization and the interfaces to them, know your data, what you can do with it and unlock it. APIs are not only the shiny frontend; they are also the connections between systems when needed. It does not matter if the backend talks ‘API’ as well, we can use the Enterprise Integrator to change to the language of the backend.
Do you know what’s the perfect solution for an agile approach and an API first strategy? Our Managed WSO2 Cloud platform Connext! It's running the complete WSO2 stack. It's scalable, runs in the cloud and is completely 24/7 managed. It will give you a flying start, and most important: you buy it as a service. You do not have to own it to use it and it is also low cost. Take a look at our Managed WSO2 Cloud page or at www.connext.com and get in touch with us if you want to be agile too.
Do you want to learn more about API Management and our Connext Solution? Visit us at one of the upcoming events in San Francisco, Berlin and Toronto!