HP updates Agile Accelerator

ComputerWorld Canada –

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co. has enhanced its HP Agile Accelerator to help organizations, in the face of technology modernization, to more easily and cost effectively build and deploy software in an iterative manner.

Enhancements include resource planning so time and resources can be better allocated in software projects. "It's hugely important you don't waste time deciding whose going to do what ... that there's no latency in the process," said Mark Sarbiewski, senior director of products with HP software & solutions.

HP Agile Accelerator sits atop the HP Quality Centre that provides requirements, test and defect management as well as test execution and reporting in a single repository.

Sarbiewski said he's observing customers going through what is probably the largest application refresh in history, given the legacy software that's been built over the years, the massive technological modernization that's underway, and the acquisitions and mergers that have brought on board duplicate software.

"Every seven to 10 years, technology moves just that much further forward," said Sarbiewski.

This means that IT is tasked with ensuring business users have the software and rich functionality they need in a timely manner, said Sarbiewski.

But Sarbiewski is observing both top-down and bottom-up pressures within organizations. On the one hand, business users complain of the delay in getting new software to keep up with changing business priorities and of the lack of value they get from their software investments. On the other hand, IT is frustrated by the endless line of milestones and checkpoints amid the changing technological landscape.

"At the end of the day for us that is about moving from a development idea to a delivery idea," said Sarbiewski.

A recent study of 1,300 IT pros by Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. shows that 35 per cent of those surveyed are engaged in some sort of agile development. Dave West, senior analyst with Forrester Research, said the agile methodology is driving a larger amount of discipline into how software is built as a result of the competitive nature of businesses. "Agile is a reality. It's continuing to rise in organizations," said West.

The study found that 64 per cent used agile for the mid-course correction that it affords because of the many unknowns that developers encounter throughout the process. "Change is a massive cursor to all of this," said West.

But while agile is popular, 35 per cent of survey respondents did report using a mix of agile and other methodologies.

Richmond, Va.-based Genworth Financial Inc. is a customer of HP's Agile Accelerator and HP Quality Centre. The company has a development landscape comprised of different teams with varying habits when it comes to building software, said Timothy Perry, chief technology officer for Genworth Financial's retirement and protection division.

While some teams use the agile methodology, there are a large number of others that don't, said Perry. The leadership at Genworth Financial isn't particularly concerned with what the methodology is, only that it delivers software the way they need it, he said. "They don't care about title of the day. They want speed of delivery and they still want to maintain high quality," said Perry.

Using HP's agile technology, said Perry, affords some consistency across the board in terms of how software is built and deployed. They are able to estimate and allocate effort, and maintain good traceability between developers' progress and requirements and test results, he said.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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