UPDATED 09:00 EST / JULY 21 2011

Screen shot 2011-07-20 at 5.13.51 PM NEWS

HP Wants You to be Ready for Agile Software Development

The days of developing applications behind a curtain and delivering the “final” result to end-users are coming to an end. And HP wants you to be ready for the transition to agile software development.

That’s clearly the message out of HP these days. Yesterday, the company released a handful of tools to help application delivery teams collaborate better and better manage the agile development process. Among them is HP Agile Accelerator 5.0, which includes a new scheduling tool for viewing deliverables in agile development projects and “provides real-time visibility across the application life cycle for rapid response to changing business requirements,” according to HP.

At an informational session for bloggers yesterday, Kelly Emo, Director of Applications Product Marketing at HP, said “the kinds of software solutions and best practices that we’re putting forward are to enable orgs to put the right infrastructure in place when they’re ready to make the move.”

If you got the sense from Emo’s statement that even HP realizes there’s a long way to go before agile software development becomes the norm, you’re right. Even HP, one of the most sophisticated tech companies on the planet, isn’t close to adopting agile methodologies throughout the enterprise.

‘We have over 3000 apps running in HP IT. A lot are moving to agile, but still far from a majority,” said Raffi Margaliot, a software developer at HP. “I’d say it’s going to be a gradual thing over the years.”

Still, I think HP is on the right track here. As Emo pointed out, mobile consumer applications are raising users expectations for iterative, continual improvements in enterprise applications.

HP needs to be careful, however, not to get too far ahead of itself. Agile software development has many benefits over more traditional approaches, but it requires a complete change in mindset by application delivery teams, most of them not technological. For one, it requires more collaboration between cross-functional teams. For another, it requires buy-in from management, something that may be difficult to attain when it comes to applying agile development methods to business critical applications, a point Emo acknowledged:

In other words, don’t expect to see agile software development methods being applied to financial or operational applications for some time. But when the time does come, HP will be waiting for you.

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