Understanding Developer Typology

Understanding Developer Typology
Ahead of our June 2018 Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg we speak with 1&1’s Matthias Wittum, Head of the Source Center and Christian Rehn, Software Developer in 1&1’s Customer Selfcare Solutions about their highly developed frameworks and models which are specially designed to examine developer typology. Their frameworks and models are proven to support developer teams, strengthen communication and optimise design decisions.
 
Matthias Wittum explains that whilst working with Christian Rehn, they identified how different developers can be when it comes to reaching a design decision and how this has an impact on development teams. We know that developers are unique problem solvers who draw on different approaches, knowledge, cultures, experience and principles to produce software solutions. Developers naturally approach projects uniquely, and the outcome can play to a particular focus or strength. Of course within a development team this can lead to several solutions being found and so the challenge is often finding one team solution or design route.
 
There are enough personality tests out there, but no tests or frameworks based specifically on developers. We felt that some instruments were needed to enable better production efficiency and to help develop teams according to their orientation and typology, so we started filling the gap. That’s how the Design Types Model for instance, came to fruition. It sets out to define developers’ typology via a relatively straightforward base of questions for each developer to answer. The answers provided help classify their typology and then you can group them accordingly. Using this model makes it easier to gain an impression of whether the tasks, the way of working and the environment are a good fit.
 
Here are three Models which we have formulated to identify developer typology, aid better case arguments to reach design decisions more quickly and to help optimise development teams:

Design Types Model – sets out to identify why software design is individual and often leads to discussions with colleagues.
Design Cards – great interactive tool using a set of predefined cards used to aid technical discussions by using proven arguments.
Design Matrix – helps you to examine technical problems from all perspectives.

Read more about these interactive Models here.
 
Ever since the agile movement, technical decisions are increasingly discussed or reviewed within the team. Collective Code Ownership means that everyone is now jointly responsible for the software and as a result, it is important for developers to be able to argue precisely and comprehensively, to be able to put oneself into the motives of your colleagues. With our models, we want to support exactly this and strengthen communication in development teams.
 
Leaders in Tech
Thanks to those who joined us at our Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg meetup held on 21st June 2018 when Matthias and Christian give a complete overview of the developer typology, as well as the Design Cards and the Design Matrix. As a start, to understand the concepts and the overall context.
 

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team
 
We spoke with Florian Gamper, freelance CTO/CIO whose background is in Software Engineering from Enterprise Backend to Web and Mobile. Florian is a speaker at our Leaders in Tech: Berlin event and over the years he has built numerous startups, Engineering Teams and Ventures for Companies like Dr. Oetker, BCG Digital Ventures and Columba. Resulting in projects like Coup (Electric Scooter Sharing for Bosch), Mein-Dach (Community Platform for Brass Monier) or backen.de (Oetker Digital).
 
As a Leader in Tech, we asked Florian what his 3 Top Tips are for Building a Successful Engineering Team
 
TIP 1 – Recruiting and interviewing your dream team
It starts with finding the talent. No longer do you have to wait for them to find you, now there’s a much more bi-directional process where you apply to them directly. This helps both sides engage in a deeper partnership. Be prepared to give your ideal candidate(s) an interesting story behind your company and an explanation as to how together, the projects can help take them to the next level.
Don’t ruin their first impression of your company! Before any interview takes place make sure the right people are in the room, and that you’re set up with a proper internet connection and good video chat system for remote interviews (not kidding … falling out of interviews all the time ruins your first expression … so ditch skype).
Finding and recruiting the right people to build a successful Engineering Team takes a lot of time. Don’t rush the process and if you have the funds to use freelancers for the intermediate, do it, it helps a lot. Never hire in doubt or rush.
 
Now it’s time to build your team.
 
TIP 2 – Cultivating the perfect environment
To create the perfect environment for an engineering team to thrive, the culture, supported from the top down, has to be right. To excel, you need to create a supporting culture with a welcoming and open mindset, which each member of the team needs to be a part of. To achieve this there are three simple rules: you have to build a culture that doesn‘t blame, gives fame, has no shame (it’s ok to admit a mistake) for the team to thrive. Set guidelines within which they have the freedom to experiment and thrive.
Glitches can appear if you don’t have the right processes in place to support your successful engineering team. To help track and record workflow you need to have stable processes in place such as CI/CD, Wiki, Tasks.
Listening, can help you spot the early signs that you’ve got the culture right. People will not only talk to each other about work, but also about their lives and hobbies. Bonds form and they’ll do some stuff together after work, ensure these are never siloed in the engineering team.
 
Never fear to lose the wrong people.

 
TIP 3 – The Future for Engineering Teams
Engineering Teams have to prepare to be more and more involved in production processes. Continuous deployment is a key to fast and steady delivery. In the near future teams will get more diverse in skills and topics as ML and other Cloud Technologies are going to be part of wider projects.
 
 

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence
We’re delighted to announce our next new office opening in Dallas, Texas, scheduled for October 2018. This move will anchor Austin Fraser deeper in the US market, hot on the heels of our award-winning Austin, Texas office and Denver, at the start of the year.
We’d also like to congratulate Dallas team lead, Alina Brovko, who will relocate from Munich to build the new Dallas team and roll-out our growth plans.  Alina is a brilliant example of the career pathways available at Austin Fraser and our strong ethos of fostering talent from within.
 
How we evolve on the ground
As the fourth biggest technology market in the US, outside New York, LA and Chicago, and a concentration of established Austin Fraser clients located in the city, Dallas was the obvious choice for our third US office. With its flourishing start-up ecosystem of incubators, tech meet-ups and a strong Fortune 500 presence, it holds real potential for Austin Fraser. With our Austin team just three hours away too, it will allow for deeper collaboration, ensuring our networks and talent pools are harnessed for client success.
As with previous locations, it’s important to us that we are embedded in the local community. Our approach is about adapting and integrating, while staying true to our Austin Fraser DNA. We invest heavily in communities, creating longer-term relationships while developing an exceptional pool as well as new career opportunities internally.
 
International growth
This past 18 months has seen Austin Fraser double our global locations, with offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas.  We scale our international teams with home-grown talent, while building a strong local talent pipeline.
As Alina explains “We’re seeing a lot of our clients with hubs across the US so for this market, it makes sense for us to support as many of those as we can, as we extend Austin Fraser’s presence.  Our business is about how we can help our clients grow. Being on hand, to build real connections and relationships really means that we can specialise as well as play an active part in the tech community here.”
Further expansion plans in the UK, Europe and the US are in place and we’ll look forward to sharing these later this year.

Austin Fraser Rank 14th in Sunday Times & HSBC International Fast Track List

 
We’re very excited to announce we have been ranked at No 14 on the annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 list of fast growing international companies. Our international expansion started in 2012 with our Munich office, in Germany, which has now grown to more than 30 people. Since then we have opened further offices in Austin, Texas, USA (now more than 20 people) and Berlin, Germany. Just last week we also announced that we are continuing our global expansion in Denver, Colorado.
 
As part of our international growth strategy, we identify markets that are aligned with our core UK markets. We have carefully considered our new locations to find markets where we can make the maximum impact and grow a sustainable business. We’ve been able to bring our knowledge of our Technology, Digital and Life Sciences markets to help our clients’ businesses grow by finding the right talent and building some incredible networks.
 
Our CEO, Pete Hart has shared his thoughts, “I am so proud of all our people and what they have achieved in Germany and the USA. There have been plenty of challenges, but the work ethic and continual desire to improve and adapt, have resulted in this placement in The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. We have had a number of key staff relocate from our UK office over the past 5 years, who have been integral in founding, maintaining and evolving the spark that made us special when we launched in the UK.
 
“We have built amazing teams with a focus on delivering exceptional client and candidate service. Our approach is to provide the best possible environment, tools and development for our people to do their job to the best of their ability. We invest heavily in the success of our people  and rely on them for the success of our business. We believe it’s right that we create an environment where colleagues respect one another, support one another and have a great time.
 
“Our plans for growth don’t stop here. We’re looking at where we might grow next and we’re still recruiting in all our offices – Reading, Munich, Berlin, Austin and Denver. It’s exciting times to be a part of Austin Fraser”
 
To find our more about us and the current vacancies we have open, take a look here: https://www.hunted.com/companies/201/austin-fraser
 
 

 

Delivering new opportunities for tech talent in Denver, Colorado

Delivering new opportunities for tech talent in Denver, Colorado
We are delighted to announce that mid-2017 we’ll be launching a new office in Denver, Colorado, USA. From this new base, Austin Fraser will be able to deliver highly skilled staffing services to the thriving digital and technology scene of Colorado. We’ll be establishing a team of consultants with expertise in specialist staffing within the tech and digital space. It’s our in-depth approach to understanding the markets, businesses and people we work with and how we develop deep long-lasting relationships that mean we’re able to work with employers and candidates to deliver exactly the right talent just when it’s needed.
 
Commenting, our USA Business manager, James Lafferty, tells us: “We’re genuinely excited by the opportunity that expanding the business to Denver presents. It’s a fantastic city that is rapidly becoming one of the key digital hubs in the US. With businesses like ComCast, Lockheed Martin, DISH Network, IBM and UPS all significant employers in the area and a fast growing number of start-ups, the possibilities for business and personal growth are fantastic.
 
“Denver is widely recognised as one of the top cities in America to work and live in right now. 300 days of sunshine and a great living standard make it a destination city where the expected influx over the next five years is a further 200,000+ people. Establishing a new base in Denver builds on the success we’ve had in Austin, Texas, where we’ve established a strong presence within the local community and been recognised by the Austin Business Journal as one of the best places to work, one of the Coolest Companies in Austin and on the 50 on Fire list – all within 24 months of starting up.”
 
Our CEO, Peter Hart explains more: “Austin Fraser is a brand with a strong heritage – we’ve been providing staffing solutions for ten years, and our staff are dedicated, hard-working trusted advisors to some of the world’s leading tech companies. We’re looking forward to becoming a key partner to the businesses in Denver and playing our part in shaping the digital economy of the area. We see this move to Denver as an important step in the growth of our business.”  

Our co-founder shares what it means to him to place 3rd in the Best Companies listing!

Find out why we placed 3rd in the Best Small Companies Listing and what it means to us.
 
Every year, the Sunday Times collaborates with Best Companies to publish the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For. These listings cover a range of sectors from small to big companies and Not-For-Profit organisations. We enter the listing for small companies, along with over 400 other firms employing 50-250 people, in total collating the views of over 31,000 employees…now that’s a lot of people! Feedback from employees is based on ranking eight key factors of a company: My Manager, My Company, Leadership, Personal Growth, My Team, Wellbeing, Fair Deal and Giving Something Back.
 
For the fifth year running we’ve placed in the Top 25. But this has been our highest placement to date, this year we made it into the Top 5 and placed 3rd! Clearly, we’re proud of this achievement, but what we really wanted to do is give you an insight into what it really means to us to receive our highest placement to date and how this will impact our business throughout the next year.
 
So, who’s best placed to give you this insight? Here’s Derek Simpson, our CDO and co-founder…
 
We’ve placed in the Top 100 five years in a row and this is our highest placement so far! What does that mean to you?
 
I love it! We use our employees’ happiness and engagement as a key measure of how successful our business is, so knowing some of the improvements we’ve made over the last year have made a real difference is the best feedback we could ask for!
 
Getting our highest place is great, but that’s really just a bonus. We’re more pleased that we have achieved our highest score so far. This is a great indicator that we have made our company a better place to work over the 5 years we have taken part in the awards. We also know that if we’re scoring well, that means our people are happy, and so they’ll be delivering a great service to the people we work for – clients and candidates.
 
How does it impact AF as a business?
 
It impacts us massively as a business, we can only continue to grow if the people we employ are happy and proud of where they work. The real benefit to us is the wealth of unedited feedback we get from our people about how they really think we’re doing business. It’s also worth noting we make an effort to get the feedback from our offices in Germany and USA even though it doesn’t contribute to our score.
 
First off we really encourage our teams to be as honest as they like so we can get a true reflection of how they feel. Our People and Culture team then take the time to analyse the information and identify opportunities for us to make improvements. There’s no point in getting the feedback if you don’t intend to do something positive with it. Although our score this time was our best ever, I’m sure there will be things we can look to improve again throughout this year.
 
It gives us an invaluable opportunity to work out where in our business we can improve, I mean why wouldn’t you want to improve your company?
 
What do we have planned this year then?
 
We want to make sure we’re always creating opportunities for people to achieve their potential, we make sure this support for our people relates not only to their time spent working with us but also in their lives generally, providing support to them and their families if and when they need it.
 
This is going to be a year of global growth and we’re looking for ways to achieve this as smoothly as possible so all of our teams can do what they do best and enjoy working for us.
 
We will continue to ask people for their feedback throughout the year. This will allow us to make sure our people strategy not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our teams globally.
 
 

Glug Profiles: Jonny Burch, Deliveroo Design

Glug Profiles: Jonny Burch, Consumer Product Lead at Deliveroo Design 

As the recruitment partner of Glug
, we’ve collaborated with them to bring you the second instalment in a series of Glug Profiles. Here’s an opportunity for you to get an insight into Glug’s speakers. We speak to Jonny Burch, Consumer Product Lead at Deliveroo Design about how user research influences design decisions, the process of launching a rebrand globally and qualities the Deliveroo look for in people when hiring!
 
Hey Jonny, so you’re the Consumer Product Design Lead at Deliveroo, what exactly does this mean?
 
This is a bit of a weird title but in a nutshell, it basically means I look after the design of all the products for hungry people. These products are digital and consist of an iOS app, an android app and our website, served to 12 countries globally from Ireland to Australia! There’s a whole load of other stuff behind the scenes as well which help make sure those hungry people have the best possible experience when ordering from us.
 
Deliveroo has rapidly established a huge global presence, how has this affected your team?
 
If you solve such a clear need that people have then ultimately they’re going to share it with their friends. The product is naturally viral because food is social. When we first started there actually wasn’t a designer for the first year, it gradually built up from our Head of Design, Simon he was the first. Then there were two designers for a year, then a third and a fourth and now we’re up to 12 but aiming to become 30 by the end of the year.
 
The design team is split in two, half of our designers are on the marketing side and the other half are on the product side, that’s the half that I’m in. We care more for the digital products, for example when you first sign up as a rider we have to build the product that helps you get on board.
 
Obviously when you have more engineers and more developers and people that can build you then need people that can design and ultimately, more people that can research. The researchers are a newer team but play a crucial part in informing all the teams where people’s pain points are so we can all work together and know what is important to build.
 

Do you have any top tips for people considering a career in product design?
 
As a product designer your brief is very open and quite often it’s a problem that someone is having or a need that users have. It’s important to be able to visually design something well but ultimately if you’re not solving the problem then you’re going to waste a lot of time. So, you need to be very focused on the needs of the people you’re solving it for. You need to want to look at data, you need to want to find insight from researchers and analysts and validate that your problem is actually a problem before you invest time designing a solution to it.
 
What do you look for in people when recruiting for your team?
 
The main qualities we look for in people are curiosity, intellectual humility, great communication skills and being an awesome collaborator. Being self-critical and wanting to explore whether or not you’re actually solving problems rather than just designing pretty stuff. Obviously, technical skills relevant to their role are crucial and having the ability to design at the right level for each problem.
It’s really just knowing what level to work at. If you have got something that is real high-level problem, you wouldn’t go straight in and start designing pixels, but, if you had to show someone something simple like what a button looked like you’d be able to go off and do that. As you get more senior there are leadership qualities that come into play, you need to be good at critiquing other people’s work and ensuring the quality stays high. You need to be good at helping other people get better.
 
How do you establish customer profiles when your audience base is basically everyone?!
 
So we don’t actually use personas, they’re tricky, they become outdated and it’s easy to take them as the truth when in fact they’re a lot more complex than that. We don’t have them stuck to the wall, we don’t want people to get attached to them. In fact, the experience we create is based more on the usage of Deliveroo.
 
Instead, we consider what time of day it is or whether you’re with friends or whether you’ve eaten well for the rest of the week, people’s habits cut through demographic data. If you’re ordering on Monday lunchtime you’re more likely to order a salad than if you’re ordering on a Friday night. In that sense, we can tailor suggestions that are based on time of day or previous orders our customers have made.

That’s a nice concept! Do you find it easier to design without personas?
 
Well, if you have a persona, it’s easier to design having that persona in mind. However, that persona may not be accurate, which in the long run makes it actually harder to pin down what the right answers are. We do a lot of usability testing, as well as multivariate testing and AB tests so we’ll always know some baseline metrics on how well something is going, we can rely on that to steer us in the right direction.
 
What has been one of your biggest challenges so far working for Deliveroo?
 
Well in four years, we’ve built a lot of products, our product surface area is absolutely huge and we’re still quite a small team! There have been quite a lot of inconsistencies, visual inconsistencies and patterns that don’t match or even wording. Everything has been built so quickly to try to keep up and put out fires, so now we’re working very hard to pay off some of that debt and build and design systems to help us know what the answer is. We’re still only a very small team so we need lots of people to help us get to a point where we’ve created a truly consistent experience. That’s a challenge, a small team trying to build things very quickly!
 
What has been one of your favourite moments working for Deliveroo?
 
Last year we completely rebranded, everyone on the design team worked together towards one date, it was intense! When you have to give all your riders new kit on one day and release new versions of all your products, not only in the UK but across 12 countries and 130 cities, it gets pretty complicated but, we managed to do it! We shipped new versions of our products without damaging our core metrics, people still knew how to use them even though we changed everything at once without the ability to test it. That was an exciting few weeks!
 
We sponsor Glug because it’s a great environment for people to connect with one another and learn from others. Make sure you come and see us at an event if you’re after your next venture! We have plenty of digital and creative recruitment industry knowledge and experience to share.
Interview by: April Edgar
 

Berlin opens new doors for Austin Fraser!

Berlin opens new doors for us!
 
We’re excited by the opportunity to update on yet another milestone in the growth of our business with the announcement that on 6th March 2017 we’re launching our second office in Germany, at the Sony Centre, right in the heart of Berlin at Potsdamer Platz! From this new base, we’ll be expanding our delivery capability to better serve the thriving digital and technology scene.
 
Jacob McCulloch, Managing Director, said “We’re really excited to be expanding the business to Berlin. This move represents a key step in our wider strategy to strengthen our services to the German tech market. Since opening in Munich we have seen the war for talent become increasingly competitive for companies, making it hard for them to secure the right skills to deliver on their projects. With so many companies hiring it is also difficult for candidates to select who is truly the right employer for their individual needs. The Sony Centre is a fantastic location to make sure we are right in the action, connecting with our network personally and understanding what is important to them. Internally it will provide our team with all the facilities we need, a great location and an environment that enables our team to provide the best service possible.”
 

We started our German story in Munich in 2012 and have rapidly grown to employ 30 people serving the South of Germany with amazing technology recruitment services. This new office in Berlin will enable us to recruit both permanent and contract technical staff in the north of Germany. The new Berlin team will start with three staff from the Munich office, and we’re already busy recruiting further members of the team, both experienced and aspiring recruiters from the local market.  
 
“It’s a great time to be joining Austin Fraser” said our CEO, Pete Hart. “We’ve grown rapidly and I’m really proud of the performance of the team here in Munich. Now, we’re expanding and looking for the best talent in Berlin to help take Austin Fraser to the next level in Germany.”
 

 

We’re Glug’s new UK recruitment partner!

We love being audience members at Glug, learning more and more about everything that’s going on in the digital and creative communities. And it was that experience of being in the audience that made us want to get involved, sponsoring our local Glug meetups, in Oxford then in Reading.
Luckily Glug liked us just as much as we liked them…
Now we’re happy to be sponsoring the whole of the UK as Glug’s exclusive recruitment partner, ensuring that these events carry on, giving us a chance to come together and share knowledge and opportunities.
Our partnership is not only supporting Glug, we want to support you, the digital and creative community. Whether you’re freelance, full time, an established company, or an innovative start up. We can help you find your next role or next hire.
Whether it’s just advice or you’d like us to help your business grow and succeed. We’re here to chat.
From our humble start-up in a garage with two employees we’ve grown across the world, with offices in Europe and the US. We know the importance of maintaining the right culture whilst recruiting. Getting the right people, with the right skills, in the right places.
In our ten years of growth, we’ve had to do this for our self, which is why we feel comfortable giving you the advice to grow your business successfully. We’ve been there and done that.
We look forward to meeting you all at an event. We love to learn about new things going in the community and meet people, like yourself, who are doing interesting things.
You can also contact our specialist team on [email protected]
Read what Glug have to say here!

Jacob McCulloch

Next stop for Austin Fraser? Berlin!

Jacob McCulloch, Sales Director, leads our second German expansion to Berlin!
 
We’re proud to announce in 2017 we’ll be launching a new office in Berlin. We want to continue to create new opportunities for our teams as well as providing a thorough offering for our clients in the North of Germany.
 
This expansion will be led by our Director, Jacob McCulloch, who says, “As one of the top tech cities in the world, Berlin is a rapidly growing market. We’re excited to be able to help more clients be part of this huge tech expansion and ensure they have the best talent to propel them forward. Austin Fraser has come a long way since we opened our German office just over three years ago, growing from a team of two to a truly national player.”
 
We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, we will recreate this again in Berlin.

 
We’ve spent four years building our presence and markets throughout the Bavarian region in Germany with a centralised base in Munich, venturing up to Berlin for several business opportunities, we are keen to build and maintain more of a presence there. We’ve created an incredible infrastructure of people who are continually pushing themselves and their colleagues around them. The environment we’ve created encourages everyone to strive to achieve. We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, this is a balance we will emulate again in Berlin.
 
Our people are vital to our success, one of our primary focuses in our 2020 vision is to continue to shape our business around them and enable them to travel, progress and diversify their careers. What this means is investing in our people and creating opportunities for them to develop both their skills and themselves in progressive roles and have the option to work internationally.
 
“We want our team to have a sense of limitless possibility.” Pete Hart, CEO
 
“We get under the skin of new geographies by investing in the local market, from the grassroots up, bringing in the best people on the ground, while also enabling our UK teams to make a real difference and fulfil professional ambitions. Creating exciting career opportunities for our people is as important as the commercial outcomes. We want our team to have that sense of limitless possibility. Our new Berlin venture is a major part of this story and we’re thrilled to be taking our offer to this rapidly growing market as well as giving our people the chance to work and live in this incredible city.” – Pete Hart, CEO.

Average coding salaries in Austin, Texas!

We collaborated with Austin Business Journal to provide the average salary bands for coders in Austin, Texas.

It’s no longer a secret — learning to code is now one of the most valuable career skills available.

If you have even the slightest interest in learning to code, you should first know what languages are out there. We compiled a short list of programming languages with a brief look at how well they pay and how hard they are to master:

The industry is overflowing with developer/engineer jobs and companies are struggling to find candidates with the necessary qualifications.
“People who learn to code really do begin to see the world differently,” said Kevin Newsum, Austin Community Manager for New York Code + Design Academy. “Not just in terms of the opportunities available to them, but also in their ability to affect real change, and think big for themselves and their communities. Learning code is a total game changer.”
Each language has it’s own unique following who are devoted to learning more. C++, Java, Python, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, and C# groups meet monthly to mentor and share ideas with one another.
For more information about how you can begin learning these languages, click here
*Average Austin salaries provided by James Lafferty of Austin Fraser

Agile SAP

Can the Agile methodology actually work in SAP?

Can the Agile methodology actually work in SAP?
It’s an age-old debate in the technology space, Agile vs Waterfall. We’ve all heard the arguments as to why each approach does or doesn’t work, particularly when it comes to the SAP sector, but is it time to embrace a more Agile approach in a bid to improve project success.
 
As someone who has been recruiting SAP and Agile professionals across the UK for more than 15 years and can see the value of both methodologies, I’ve noticed it’s a subject that continues to come up in my discussions across the SAP market.
 
I look around at my clients and very rarely does a project get delivered, on time, let alone on budget. In fact, did you know latest statistics show that projects above £10 million are successful only 10 per cent of the time, 52 per cent are challenged and 38 per cent fail!
Is Waterfall failing us? Are we ready to start accepting inevitable change or are we trying to ignore it?

SAP has traditionally run projects on Waterfall methodologies as we know, generally hybrid versions of Prince2 and there are strong historical reasons for this. During the time of R/3 in the early 90s, Waterfall-based software engineering frameworks were mostly taught to software professionals and subsequently adopted as ‘best practice’. This soon became the dominant way to implement configuration-driven package software.
 
This position was further entrenched by the release of SAP’s standardised approach ASAP (Accelerated SAP) in the late ’90s, which was adopted as the standard reference framework for SAP.

 
This started to change slowly after Agile became popularised in 2001 with the manifesto for Agile Software Development , created by frustrated software professionals.

Agile methods, until recently, were seen to be more applicable to bespoke software product development than ERP implementations.Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.

However, in the past 15 years or so, a small group of software development professionals found themselves in SAP projects and successfully implemented aspects of Agile techniques such as Xtreme Programming (XP) and Scrum in their SAP projects mostly ‘under the radar’ or hidden within a Waterfall framework, and it worked.

More positive openness towards Agile methods emerged when SAP AG itself started adopting Agile development around 2010, releasing Agile extensions to ASAP 8 as an integral part of SAP Solution Manager.

The feeling across a number of clients we have spoken to said that “There is definitely an element of concern that Agile adoption (at team and business levels) would be costly and take too much time,

“There is still a perception that Agile methods (jokingly referred to as ‘Agile Fragile’) is undisciplined, unplanned and inherently ungovernable because no one delivers any documentation and/or reports.

“This is far from the truth because in reality, Agile demands a lot of discipline, communication and collaboration from both the project management, business and the project team and in addition emphasises strong focus on quality and technical excellence.”

These statements led me to wonder, do we need to educate C-Suite stakeholders? Do companies and PMO managers need to start planning for a change into Agile?

Let’s look at the release of SAP HANA products. The ASAP Methodology in 2015 was transcended and replaced by the new SAP Activate methodology that now has Agile development at its core.

Is Agile SAP here to stay? And if so, as it seems to be, are many businesses putting their proverbial head in the sand?

Implementing and understanding Agile, just like anything else, is not a guilt-free salvation to your problems. Projects are by definition, disruptive, temporary and noisy. Organisations need to realise and acknowledge that whatever transition method they choose there will be disruption.
 
Agile transformation requires a serious mind-set change and strong focus and commitment. You need to adapt, adopt, use the right tool for the right job,
 
It seems to me, that as a sector, we need to look at the case job-by-job, rather than bringing forward the thinking ‘it’s the way we’ve done it before, and it’s the way we’ll do it again’.

Would you agree? I am open to hear your thoughts.

Shane Sale
is a specialist Principal consultant who also manages, the ‘Agile UK Networking group’, and the ‘SAP UK Networking Group’ Why not drop him a line at either 01189520156 or [email protected]