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sparxsystems

sparxsystems

Sparx Systems


99 Albert Street
Creswick,
Victoria
3363
Australia
P: +61 3 5345 1140
F: +61 3 5345 1104
 
Sparx Systems specializes in high performance and scalable visual modeling tools for the planning, design and construction of software intensive systems. A Contributing Member of the Object Management Group (OMG), Sparx Systems is committed to realizing the potential of model-driven development based on open standards. The company’s flagship product, Enterprise Architect, has received numerous accolades since its commercial release in August, 2000. Enterprise Architect is the design tool of choice for over 380,000 registered users world-wide.

In conjunction with the development of Enterprise Architect 13, the team at Sparx Systems have built on the extensive support currently available with the introduction of the new User Guide PDF Library, a completely revamped Learning Center and further refinement of the Enterprise Architect User Guide.

 

Enterprise Architect User Guide:

eaug screenshot

 

The Enterprise Architect User Guide was completely redeveloped in early 2016 to cater for complete online use; adopting a new, streamlined search and menu function enabled for easier access to the information required to facilitate more effecitve knowledge gathering.

Through extensive reseach and testing, the structure of content has also been updated to bring into line new features, reflecting the continual integration ethos central to the Sparx Systems philosophy.

While the majority of EA users have unrestricted access to the Internet to access the User Guide, thus being able to experience of an up-to-the-minute support resource, we have also recognized that some environments require a stand-alone version of the help system. For this purpose, an installable file is available to download and run on local machines.

Visit the Enterprise Architect User Guide: Click Here

Download the installer for a local version: Click Here

 

User Guide PDF Library:

pdf library

 

The User Guide Library is a new approach to providing essential resources to the EA community, each document has been produced from the extensive User Guide and delivered in the popular PDF format.

The library consists of 58 seperate documents, classified into 10 categories covering Fundamentals, Project Management, Simulation, Automation and more.

Visit the Enterprise Architect User Guide PDF Library: Click Here

 

Learning Center:

learning center

 

The Learning Center Library can be downloaded and added to Enterprise Architect for easy access to more than 4,000 pages of resources.

A complete installation guide is also available on the Library page.

Visit the Enterprise Architect Learning Center Library: Click Here

 

Report from the first ever

Scottish Gathering of Enterprise Architect Users

Thistle Logo

Held in Livingston on Wednesday 8th June 2016

Written by Gillian Adens, Director at Hippo Software

 

In June Hippo Software hosted a local gathering of Enterprise Architect users in Scotland. Forty-five delegates from twenty different organisations signed up to attend this event. This included some delegates travelling from as far afield as London, Nottingham and Northern Ireland as well as lots of delegates travelling the length and breadth of Scotland, coming from Livingston, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamilton, Perth, Glenrothes and Inverness. For the vast majority of these delegates, this was their first ever EA user group experience and an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas, share challenges and propose solutions.

 

A Journey to a More Collaborative Future?

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Our first speaker was Darren Campbell, Senior Solution Designer at ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Darren provided an honest and open account of ACCA’s journey so far. He explained the starting position with the company using a wide range of disparate tools for architecture, business process, data and design models. ACCA identified EA as an environment supporting ArchiMate, BPMN and UML in a single repository. The aim was to bring together all these various disciplines and allow traceability between high level architecture and detailed BPMN and UML models.

With a little training and strong support from a newly formed Enterprise Architecture team, this aim has been largely achieved. Darren spoke candidly about some of the challenges encountered and others that still face their team. The setup of a cloud repository was a substantial challenge at the time and the focus now is on developing some templates to facilitate automatic document generation and encourage the use of EA. In addition the team wish to establish more governance to ensure the consistency and quality of models in EA.

 

Transforming Scottish Local Government Services

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Our second speakers presented a very entertaining and lively double-act – Gordon Hunter, Digital Business Architect at Fife Council and Lee Brown, Business Analyst for Improvement Service. Gordon and Lee provided some background on the challenges facing Scottish councils, eloquently describing the complexity, diversity and scale of services supported by councils.

They have been instrumental in the development of a common framework and creation of a local government reference architecture using ArchiMate within EA. Gordon talked about the mapping that they did between TOGAF and ArchiMate terminology and shared their meta model. Example EA diagrams were used to demonstrate the motivation for the reference model and the advantages and benefits it offers to the thirty-two Scottish councils in terms of reusable model artifacts.

 

Interactive ‘Grumbles’ Session

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Hippo Software than facilitated a ‘grumbles’ session, organising the delegates into small groups and giving them an opportunity to discuss those aspects of EA that irritate, annoy or challenge them. The delegates were tasked with choosing their top two or three grumbles and presenting these to the rest of the delegates. The main grumbles were fed back to Sparx Systems for their assessment and will hopefully influence future EA development plans. On a positive note some of the new features in EA V13 should address some of these grumbles and delegates were also able to share their own ’work-arounds’.

 

Effective Collaboration with Use Cases and BPMN

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After lunch we introduced Ian Freeman, Business Systems Architect at Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution. Ian gave a fascinating presentation covering some of the projects he has worked on at SSE and others where collaboration has taken place at the Energy Networks Association.

Ian explained how much the power industry has changed over that last couple of decades with a focus on renewable energy sources and how the introduction of smart metering
requires the industry to collaborate and adapt to new business processes. He explained how EA was used to create BPMN and Use Case models to provide a common narrative and allow exchange of information and ideas. Ian showed some examples of good architecture models and roadmaps to assist strategic planning.

 

New Features of EA V13

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We were delighted to welcome Ken Harkin, Global Business Development Manager and Tom O’Reilly, Chief Operations Officer from Sparx Systems who joined us at our EA Gathering. The audience was enthusiastic and pleased to have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Sparx Systems and provide face to face feedback on their experiences with EA.

Tom O’Reilly showed us some of the new features in EA V13 including the new ribbon interface, improved diagram filters and time aware models. Everyone seemed keen to try out the new beta version of EA V13.

 

Interactive ‘Highlights’ Sessions

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The day concluded with another interactive session facilitated by Hippo Software. This time we asked delegates to share their highlights – things they have discovered in EA that delight and greatly assist them. To get things started, our consultant Gareth Tuckwell shared some of our favourite keyboard and mouse shortcuts. Delegates then discussed their own highlights including the use of the diagram context filer and using scripts to automate repetitive tasks.

Thursday, 21 July 2016 05:42

Kanban with Enterprise Architect

At Sparx Systems there are a number of key objectives that are always in the minds of the developers. One is delivering what the end user wants and the other is to exceed end user expectations, by delivering to their needs at an affordable price point. A third objective is to add value by making the end user experience more practical, inclusive and convenient.

 

These are the reasons why Enterprise Architect is the total modelling and design environment, -adaptable and extensible, providing all that is required by the end user and reducing or eliminating the inconvenience of access to the “external application”. That’s a simple expectation of a modelling tool, and the Sparx Systems interpretation of this expectation puts Enterprise Architect Version 13 in a class of its own.

 

Kanban was first introduced into Enterprise Architect Version 11. As a key agile process, Kanban is a method for managing knowledge work, with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery. It presents all participants with a full view of the process, from task definition, to delivery to a customer. Because Kanban is a set of practices that can also be implemented in traditional hierarchical bureaucracy, it does not present a threat to the existing culture and can work within different cultures.

 

In 2015 a Forrester survey found that the customer experience topped priorities for business and technology leaders. Based on these results Forrester forecasts that in 2016, customer experience “will be among the top 10 critical success factors determining who will win and who will fail in the age of the customer.” This is interesting because agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage. Or put another way, the price of survival is to become agile. In recent times Kanban has been applied to the process of developing software-centric solutions in an attempt to ensure that value is delivered to the customer as quickly as possible.

 

Kanban is an agile entry point that while it does not challenge the culture it can be used to challenge the status quo. However, as an agile practice Kanban can be a cultural “change agent” and lead to Scrum and XP agile practices. Enterprise Architect offers a complete Agile Project Management foundation for the largest to the smallest of projects, supporting mainstream agile delivery frameworks and methods including, SCRUM, RUP, XP, DSDM and Kanban.

 

Kanban revolves around a visual board for managing work-in-progress and making work flow issues apparent through process definition based on how the work is handled in the team and on stakeholder priorities. A backlog is created in order to keep track of the work and as a basis for setting priorities. The cycle time of the tickets can be measured and used to keep track on improvements.

 

kanban three stage workflow sml kanban model patterns sml

 

Enterprise Architect has built-in Kanban diagrams and a number of pre-built workflow patterns that can be used 'as-is' or configured to suit any project or initiative. Because Enterprise Architect is also a sophisticated modeling platform for strategic and business analysis, architecture, design, implementation, testing and deployment, this Kanban facility becomes very powerful. Work items on a Kanban Board can be linked to strategic decisions, business rules, policies, requirements, architecture and design elements and every facility in the development lifecycle.

 

Agile planning is the assessment of the rate that agile teams can convert customer requirements into deployment ready software, while determining when they will be done. Burn down charts will provide these indicators. With Enterprise Architect burn down charts and time series graphs can be easily created and these are regularly and automatically updated by Enterprise Architect. A sophisticated charting facility is available to create powerful and expressive charts and dashboards, that will provide insights into the Kanban process and enable Product Owners and other team members to monitor performance and determine ways of fine tuning how the team works. There are a range of built-in charts, including bar, pie charts and heat maps, but a team is free to create any number of user-defined charts, which can also be incorporated into team processes and reviews.

 

As the affordable solution of choice for organisations who want to adopt Agile, including Kanban, Enterprise Architect 13 concantenates potentially siloed projects or sprints and provides assurance against the risk of segregation and ultimate fracturing of visibility across the enterprise, which can be caused by ad-hoc Agile initiatives.

 

In Enterprise Architect 13, Kanbans can be set at the individual level or project level in a shared model. With the 'My Kanban' feature, individual work can be tracked while the 'Project Kanban' option supports the team.

 

Projects of any size can benefit from the efficiencies of the flexible and integrated Kanban facility built into the Enterprise Architect core product. The Kanban features in Enterprise Architect are highly configurable and can be altered to suit any team or process, including agile, iterative and incremental, and even waterfall projects. This simple, yet powerful project management approach, creates a team collaboration platform that will result in products, services and solutions being delivered to customers with efficiency and in record time.

 

Webinar Recording: Introduction to Kanban and Heatmaps (using EA 12.1)

 

Workflow model patterns have been added, enabling the creation and linking of single or multiple stage Kanban workflows utilizing the Backlog, Iteration and Complete Kanban diagrams to support the existing “Standard type”. Together, these form powerful Kanban workflows, allowing the easy movement of Kanban elements between them. This movement provides the user with a view of the current team resources allocated to the Kanban element, enabling them to see what resource has been assigned, and completion status.

 

To assist with control of agile sprints, new menu items are available from the Construct Ribbon to search and find all Kanbans in a model. Kanban drawing style can be used showing Type, Status, Version, Priority, Bold Name, Stereotype, Phase, Author, and Truncate with name and Icon.

 

Work Items can be drawn with a compelling visual style, such as a colored card that can be dragged anywhere in the diagram to change order in a given lane, or from lane to lane, progressing from left to right through the board, representing progress towards value for the customer. The lanes are typically bound to the values of a 'project management aware' property such as status or phase, and as the item is dragged from lane to lane the value of the bound property is automatically changed. If a diagram is linked to a project management property, dragging an element from one lane to another automatically changes the value of the property, to the value that the lane represents.

 

To review Kanban features supported by Enterprise Architect 13. please visit:

Wednesday, 06 July 2016 03:33

User Group Attendee Profile: Rasheed Amzart

Following the recent EA user group meeting in London, we took a moment to interview attendee Rasheed Amzart, an Enterprise Data Architect with the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). Here he details his recent work and his impressions on EA and user group meetings.

The ATOC also recently published a case study with Sparx Systems partner Dunstan Thomas.

rasheed amzart

 

Full Name: Rasheed Amzart

Job Title: Enterprise Data Architect

Organization: Association of Train Operating Companies

Attended the London user group meeting in May 2016 (have you attended any others?): Yes. I attended the User Group Meeting in 2015

How long have you been using Enterprise Architect (EA)?
Approximately two years.

How is EA deployed where you are? (EA versions, floating licenses, repositories, cloud, etc.):

  • Version: 12.1
  • Floating licences
  • Central repository
  • Cloud based

What are you working on at the moment?
Developing a number of logical ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ data models and a number of supporting documents, such as business process maps and models.

What have the challenges been?
Knowledge Acquisition has been shortcoming due to poor documentation

How has Enterprise Architect helped you and your team?
Yes in a number of key areas, requirements, system modelling, business modelling and data modelling. This has enabled the various project teams to work on a single platform and share areas of expertise and data and so help reduce the number of silos within the organisation.

What do you like about your job?
Being the Enterprise Data Architect has given me the opportunity to engage with a number of departments within my organisation and to help a more holistic view of the complex architecture systems using various types of system and data models.

What functionality would you like to see Enterprise Architect support in the future?

  • A quick browser based web client would be extremely helpful.
  • The ability to undo any action carried out within EA.
  • Ability to generate reports ie attributes, elements etc.

Is this your first User Group Meeting? No

Did you enjoy your time at the User Group meeting in London? Yes very much.

What have you gained from it? I have been able to liaise with other users and share idea and also gain new knowledge and tips which I feel will improve my productivity.

Would you recommend user groups to other people in your role? Yes.

Each year over 16,000 students and professionals from the GIS community attend the conference.

This year Sparx Systems staff are looking forward to demonstrating its solutions for geodatabase design with UML (Booth #2440).

Sparx Systems Senior Analyst, Ben Constable will be presenting at a session titled "Model and Generate your Geodatabase Schema with UML," which will focus on:

  • Modeling geodatabases in UML for export to ArcCatalog.
  • Reverse engineering existing databases.
  • Achieving tracability to other analysis and design tools.
  • Communicating geodatabase designs.

Since joining the company in 2003, Ben has been actively involved in developing domain-based profiles for Enterprise Architect. In this capacity, he continues to contribute to the development of Enterprise Architect's UML profile for designing ArcGIS geodatabases.

Session details:

Model and Generate your Geodatabase Schema with UML
Tuesday, June 28, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Tech Theater 15 Exhibit Hall A
San Diego Convention Center

Visit the ERSI User Conference 2016 website: Click Here

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Hippo Software has announced the Event Schedule for the first Enterprise Architect User Group being held in Scotland, the long standing Sparx Systems Global Partner will be hosting the event on the 8th of June.

 

Time: Subject
9:30am - 9:50am Registration, tea and coffee
9.50am– 10am Welcome and introductions
10am– 10.45am

User presentation: 'Journey to a More Collaborative Future?'

Darren Campbell, Senior Solution Designer, ACCA

Q&A session

10.45am– 11am Morning break for refreshments
11am– 11.45am

User presentation: Transforming Scottish Local Government Services
Gordon Hunter, Digital Business Architect, Fife Council and
Lee Brown, Business Analyst, Improvement Service
Q&A session

11.45am– 12.30pm

Interactive ‘Grumbles’ Session facilitated by Hippo Software

12.30pm– 1.30pm Lunch
1.30pm– 2.15pm

User presentation: Effective Collaboration with Use Cases and BPMN
Ian Freeman, Business Systems Architect, Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution
Q&A session

2.15pm– 3pm

Presentation: An Overview of Features Planned for the Next Version of Enterprise Architect
Tom O'Reilly, Chief Operations Officer, Sparx Systems
Q&A session

3pm– 3.15pm Afternoon break for refreshments
3.15pm– 4pm Interactive ‘Highlights’ Session facilitated by Hippo Software

 

When: Wednesday 8th June 2016 9.30am - 4pm

Location: Mercure Livingston, Almondview, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 6QB

Details and Registration: Visit the Hippo Software website

nl eauc 100616

 

16 quality presentations across 3 topic streams, including keynotes from IATA, Schiphol Group, The Future Group, with a preview presentation on Enterprise Architect 13 Beta from Sparx Systems COO Tom O'Reilly.

 

Calling all Enterprise Architects, Software Designers, Business Analysts and Business Process Analysts! Attend the Dutch EA User Conference event at Schiphol on June 10th 2016 for a day full of information exchange on the usage of Sparx Enterprise Architect.

 

The full event program has just been finalised (see attached PDF above), with various keynotes and presentations from international speakers like Geert Bellekens, Ian Mitchell and Rodrigo Nascimento but also Dutch speakers who have successfully applied EA solutions from such organisations as Enexis, NS, VZVZ or UMCG.

 

Download the attached event schedule (PDF Link above) and visit the event page at www.eausergroup.com for more information and to reserve your space.

Animated Banner eac2016 bpm2016 confStrategic IT Training organization IRM UK, will be hosting two co-located conferences in London during June 13-16.

 

IRM UK state that the EACBPM conference is "Europe’s only Co-located Conferences on Enterprise Architecture and BPM."

The event provides a unique opportunity to discover the latest approaches and innovative ideas to both BPM and EA and benefit from the synergies between them.

Sparx Systems is a sponsor for the event and senior Sparx representatives will also be in attendance to exhibit the Enterprise Architect platform.

For more information regarding EACBPM 2016, please visit the IRM UK website: http://www.irmuk.co.uk/eac2016/

acrisSparx Systems will be attending an Airports Council International (ACI) technical meeting at Munich in June.

Aviation Community Recommended Information Services (ACRIS) Working Group meeting will be held at Munich Airport on 7-8-9 June 2016.

The ACRIS Working Group provides the industry standards necessary to improve information exchanges in passenger and baggage end-to-end processes. Sparx Systems will join representatives from the industry’s most progressive airports and aviation organisations to discuss how technology can be leveraged for positive change.

For more details regaing ACI and ACRIS, please visit: http://www.aci.aero/About-ACI/Priorities/Airport-IT/ACRIS

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 02:15

Collaborative Evolution

Linkedin xFishmakesLFish

 

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." 

- Henry Ford


Ten years ago, Gartner published the Emerging Technology Hype Cycle Report, and identified “collective intelligence” as a technology that would have “the greatest impact” on business over the following decade. Now in 2016, a convergence of technologies has conspired to create a miasma of complexity so engulfing that there is no alternative but to adapt to it. Old responses to new norms are inadequate. So how is this challenge to be addressed to retain existing market share and build on achieved success?

 

A recent article “Let Go of What Made Your Company Great” in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) discussing organisational response states that “the appropriate solution to employ depends on the magnitude of the challenge and how much of the organization is affected by the challenge”.


The very organisational structures that sufficed to create success in the past now present the greatest risk to adaptive organisational response to the complexity challenge. The HBR goes on to demonstrate with business examples, that letting go of entrenched thinking requires bringing “the organizational reflex circuitry out of auto-pilot.” A survey on business agility recently reported that almost fifty percent of survey participants blamed opposition based company culture or philosophy for agile failures.

 

In “Collective Intelligence in Teams and Organizations” a paper by lead author Anita Williams Woolley from MIT, the team explores the ingredients required for the development of collective intelligence and describes collective intelligence as including “a group’s capability to collaborate and coordinate effectively” stating “this is often much more important for group performance than individual ability alone”.


Agile encourages enhanced communication, sharing of information and collaboration. A report in Forbes from 2015 by Steve Denning discusses how “Agile, Scrum and Lean arose as a deliberate response to the problems of hierarchical bureaucracy that is still pervasive in organizations today: falling rates of return on assets and on invested capital, a dispirited workforce, a decline in competitiveness and widespread disruption of existing business models.” In hierarchical models subordinates report upwardly to the bosses. In horizontal agile structures the team focusses on the customer and as Peter Drucker has stated, the single goal of a business is to create a customer.


The collaborative behaviour between self organising, cross functional teams has recognised similarities in swarm intelligence or stigmergy, the stimulation effect that individual effort has in guiding the work of co-workers and the behaviour that creates the shared outcome.

 

Through the agile software development methodology, the evolution of requirements and solutions supported by the collaboration activity patterns of agile teams is similar to those exhibited in stimergy. Team members are stimulated by the performance that they have achieved and they are also stigmergically stimulated by their environment which, apart from collaboration enabling technologies also includes management support.


Organizational theorist Ikujiro Nonaka suggests that innovation comes from serendipity. Knowledge is not created by information processing, but by “tapping the tacit and often highly subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches of individual employees and making those insights available for testing and use by the company as a whole". He adds “The key to this process is personal commitment, the employees’ sense of identity with the enterprise and its mission.”


Silos are the nemesis of serendipity. Different team members and stakeholders must be able to input information that is relevant to their roles and activities and that is useful to the other members of shared projects. This implies the necessity to capture this information in a model that is available to all team members overcoming their geographical limitation.


The emergence of new ideas, or innovation, through collaboration, has been commented on extensively. A single idea can lead to breakthroughs and competitive advantage and the idea of one person can be used by many others who can make small refinements or improvements to the idea or spark completely new ideas. These in turn become the normal as creativity destroys long accepted convention.


Collaboration is becoming a new enterprise standard. In the face of the challenges being presented by market uncertainty, successful transition to the most effective use of strategic information technology, is a priority for many organisations. Collaboration enables the enterprise to leverage the strengths of all its parts and by harnessing creative energy and increasing the chances of success, while reducing or eliminating process overlap and resource redundancy. The shared awareness of issues promoted through collaboration encourages trust and builds confidence in group stakeholders and synergises the collective response to problem resolution.


The mutual dependency of collaborative culture and Agile approaches, is essential for successful project delivery, which is ultimately decided by the customer. Whether the organisation is large or small, has not yet adopted Agile or is Agile progressive, a handful of factors are critical to success.


Flexible Planning
In a business environment where innovative disruption is encouraged and fail fast is the short term goal, it is essential that situational change gets a nimble response and to that end, flexibility must be built into planning. The World Development Report 2013 published by the World Bank notes that creative destruction is the mainstay of economic growth. A plan is essential but it is not indispensable and ought to be replaceable when a better idea presents itself. Adaptive schedule planning identifies milestones, but, maintains a flexible approach to get to them, while making allowances for the milestones to change.

 

Evolutionary Development
The evolutionary development approach is iterative and is accepted practice for Agile software development. Agile development principles are different. Change is accepted and expected and because Agile software developers accept change as a constant, they choose to work in this way. A central tenet of agile teams is that it is okay to fail and to try another method. Collaboration unites individual efforts enabling the team to accomplish goals. Failure is foundational to these efforts, as it provides opportunities for teams to review and re-organise strategies.

 

The Global Innovation Index (GII) has established itself as a leading reference on innovation and in 2015 published the eighth report titled “Effective Innovation Policies for Development”. This report stated that “Innovative enterprises are shown to be economically more successful than firms that rely on tried and true processes and approaches.” Agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage.


Early Delivery
Early delivery is seen as a leading measure of progress and depends on several factors. Frequent releases of working software, to ensure shorter feedback cycles which in turn facilitate collaboration with customers. This development cycle also encourages discussion which reveals the status of development, uncovers problems and identifies ways of implementing solutions, while supporting learning and development of an understanding of the function of the system.

 

As implied earlier, higher revenue from stepped delivery is supported by Agile development philosophy which also promotes a culture of ‘perpetual beta’ or early and frequent releases. This high frequency iteration allows the customer to provide valuable feedback on a regular basis.


Continuous Improvement
Process improvement underpinned the successful growth of Toyota from its small company genesis to a global auto industry leader, over a relatively short period. Also known as Kaizen, continuous improvement, a lean based manufacturing approach, systematically seeks to achieve incremental changes in processes, in order to improve efficiency and quality.


Embracing Change
When change is viewed as an asset within an organisation, survivability and competitiveness are supported and the process of evolving to a future state is a cultural constant for such organizations. In the past, stability was seen as a positive attribute within an organisation and was the bulwark against change, which if possible was to be averted.

 

Today that strategy has been obliterated. Agile is the adaptability and responsiveness to change that is essential to successfully compete in the new competitive landscape. The iterative approach of customer driven Agile development teams, while reducing the size of the changes related to a software release, also increases the change frequency. Agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage.