Kerri Connolly Director Partner Development, Global Partner Solutions
Jun 17,2021

Build quicker and better: Agile development for Microsoft partners

If you develop your own software solutions and you’re not already familiar with Agile practices, this Microsoft post is for you. You’ll learn what Agile is all about and why so many business and technology leaders, including Microsoft, promote its adoption. And include plenty of Microsoft skilling resources to get you developing faster and better.

Agile development has earned quite a reputation in the past 30 years. Chances are, if you develop software, you have already heard of it and may have already adopted some of its principles and practices. But after talking to developers and seeing the software marketplace evolve over the years, it seems that Agile may have more influence than true adherents.

What is Agile?

Microsoft Docs offers this definition on their Agile page:

Agile development is a term used to describe iterative software development. Iterative software development shortens the software development lifecycle. Agile development teams execute the entire software development lifecycle in smaller increments, usually called sprints. Sprints are typically 1-4 weeks long. Agile development is often contrasted with traditional or waterfall development, where larger projects are planned up front and executed against that plan.

Practicing what we preach. Microsoft developers adopted Agile practices and never looked back. Learn about their journey in this article.

Agile prioritizes:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

12 principles of Agile

12 principles make up the Agile Manifesto, a document, informed by countless developers around the world, inspired by frustration with traditional development approaches. Agile practitioners follow a common set of practices designed to facilitate communication, to produce more frequent releases of code, and to focus intently on satisfying the user/customer.

By putting ownership of development in the hands of developers, not project managers, Agile enables a delivery mindset that empowers technical professionals to produce better, faster results.

A cultural commitment

Practicing Agile successfully requires a cultural commitment determined to adopt all the Agile principles and practices over time. Instead of just adopting the part of Agile that works for your team, you adopt all the practices—from daily stand-ups and whiteboarding, to playing cards.

That much change is no small undertaking. Changing how development teams and product teams and even how your business operates takes commitment. As Agile relies on an abundance of communication, transparency, and adherence to change management, efforts to adopt Agile on a day-to-day basis can easily misfire.

Choosing an Agile approach

Available for free on Microsoft Docs, the Choose an Agile approach to software development module can help get all your developers on the same page. This module takes 40 minutes to complete and helps you make recommendations for incorporating Agile practices immediately. It explains how create a project in Azure DevOps and how to add work items in Azure Boards, a tool that helps teams plan the work to be done.

Don’t go it alone

Advance your Agile journey by engaging established practitioners to collaborate with your team on their first and second Agile projects. Start with one product or project and learn as you go. Recruiting experienced Agile leaders and practitioners directly onto your team can also help you accelerate your cultural transformation.

Development teams can also leverage the partner network to connect and co-team with other partners and learn how to adopt Agile.

Finally, you can get help from fellow Microsoft partners. With over 14,000 organizations in Canada alone, the Microsoft Partner Network offers a full breadth and depth of technical specialists. Many partners discuss and share Agile resources on the Microsoft Partner Network forums. Just post a messaging asking for help and/or partners who might offer Agile adoption/mentorship services.

ISV practice development playbook

From recruiting Agile talent to implementing a solution delivery process, the Microsoft Practice Development Playbook details every step in getting your SaaS business, including considering Agile. It’s free with registration and developed by Microsoft partners for Microsoft partners and potential partners considering a relationship.

Download the ISV practice development playbook