Behind the scenes: a glimpse in the life of an agile project

The ever-changing nature of technology has increased the difficulty of systematically implementing complex customer roadmaps and software developments. In this environment, emerging project areas such as cloud-native become more than simple approaches to the IT market; they represent a tangible transformation of how to conduct business. However, understanding how to convey this transformation in a standardized, customer-ready solution often remains a challenge.

Which path should I take: on-site or public cloud?

How can I best choose between PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS?

How can I integrate a cloud application into the existing software ecosystem?

Decision-makers ask themselves these and many more questions in order to maximize the efficacy of new architectures and reduce their impact on the current business environment.

That’s where projects enter the scene: temporary activities to produce those intangible results that, in cloud-native technology, stem from the profitable coexistence of an enterprise blueprint with the on-demand availability of Internet services. The beginning of a project plays an essential role in understanding the answers to the business development and value questions that companies ask themselves as they enter the cloud-native world. But how does such a project come to life?

The birth of a cloud native project

Cloud native is a loose term used to describe any transformation related to cloud computing delivery models. This can range from cloud management systems or API integration up to system architecture evaluations. However, even though each of these projects will have its own specific set of requirements, roadblocks, and resources, a few key steps will be similar in the implementation of it all:

Step 1. Requirement analysis: defining the objectives of the project

Projects often arise from unfulfilled needs. An outdated service, an expensive process, or a lack of capacity: these and others are the starting points for developing methods that produce a long-term solution. Cloud computing projects therefore need to have a solid understanding of the main goals and requirements that companies have when they initiate such transformations.

These requirements are crucial in understanding how to implement a solution or migrate an infrastructure in the best interest of a specific business value return. However, internal misalignments or different prioritizations inside a company make it hard to agree on a common ground of needs, goals, commitment, and expectations.

That’s why project timelines often start with workshops dedicated to requirement collection and prioritization. In this way, it’s possible to understand – in the chaos of preferences and demands – how to align needs and correctly identify the balance between what a business wants and needs.

About to start a cloud-native project? Here are some of the several relevant topics to consider when beginning to select and prioritize your requirements:

  • Scalability and elasticity of the system
  • User management capabilities
  • Security and privacy measures
  • Definition of service orientation
  • Availability and performance of the architecture

Step 2. Timeline: creating a project schedule

Transformations in the technology ecosystem do not happen overnight. Any project – whether big or small – has a timeline stretching across several stages before the final goal is reach. Because of this, even cloud-native migrations require detailed roadmaps to help those involved visualize vital priorities and objectives and create business value.

If you also want to define your plan of action for diving into the on-demand services, here are some points you should not forget:

  • Dedicate enough time to both the concept and the development phase (if part of the project). The concept will shape your requirements into a tailor-made solution, while the development will articulate the evolution of your transformation.
  • Communicate at all times. In the consultation, documentation, and implementation phase. Defining a timeline is the first step to keeping a project on track. However, clear transparency among and between departments while implementing the roadmap is the key to successful project management.
  • Be flexible. Technology ecosystems, customer demands, and functional requirements often change. The transformations must therefore change with them. As agile management methodologies have taught us, set timelines and project phases must not be forgotten. However, they can be molded into a new form that better fits the changing circumstances of the project.

Step 3. Stakeholder management: understanding who is involved in the project

The more a cloud computing ecosystem shifts from on-premises resources to a hybrid cloud environment, the more people will be involved in the transformation. However, even in a fully on-site environment, many parties have to be considered in order to be able to push forward a significant change.

With all these elements involved in the process, while shifting and reallocating resources, it is necessary to be aware of the main stakeholders, who will be influenced by/can influence the result of the project. Roles with a significant relevance that can appear in any cloud-native dedicated project include the ones listed below.

If you want to coordinate multiple stakeholders, you should consider these examples of elements that can influence your business:

  • End users. These can be either customers or business users who will have final access to the product.

Influence departments. Access management, security protocols, data distribution.

  • Development team. Usually consists of developers and IT managers such as scrum masters or project managers; they are the team creating or implementing the solution.

Influence departments. Internal operations, continuous development, automatization.

  • Platform providers. The parties involved in hosting and managing container and cloud solutions (e.g., SaaS, PaaS or IaaS).

Influence departments: Resource and cost management, vendor’s lock-in, system administration.

Step 4. Resources allocation: creating benefit from available assets

Around cloud computing ecosystems, there are different types of resources that can easily change the perspective and implementation of a project. These are the same resources often overlooked by decision-makers when adopting a change – either because they fall into the business routine or because of their unseen potential. Correct asset allocation, whether physical or nonphysical, can save unnecessary expenses arising from resource upcycling as well as precious time spent reorganizing the ecosystem.

If you also want to manipulate your system while avoiding a loss of assets, here are some of the elements you should pay attention to when embarking a new cloud-native project:

  • Existing software solution
  • Employees (with dedicated department teams)
  • Contracts with service providers, including SLAs
  • Hardware architecture
  • Policies and regulations

Where to start?

At Cloudflight, cloud-native projects are more than a simple architecture transformation. They represent a profound change in culture and structure arising from a new way of looking at technology.

These structural changes need well-defined guidelines and processes so that the business ecosystem can be improved without destroying the existing policies and procedures.

If you want to take the first steps and initiate this change through a productive strategy, we are more than happy to support you and help you define the steps necessary to drive your cloud-native projects and transformation.

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