5 Industry Trends in UK Software Development

I was asked recently what were the agile trends at the moment and off the top of my head I came up with the following: Kanban, Functional Programming, DVCS in the Enterprise, Devops & Continuous delivery and Data Visualisation. Here is why I believe these areas are important.

Kanban adoption keeps growing

I see kanban being adopted by a range of teams and organisation, from IT shops to recruitment agencies.  Kanban is a natural fit for DevOps teams and dev teams in maintenance mode.  Although some agile software developers are wedded to Scrum, as their approach matures many move more toward a kanban approach with zero iterations (or even a just-in-time approach)

Functional programming adoption as a competitive advantage

The rise of the Scala language on the Java platform is no longer news, however the Clojure language (being a re-imagining of Lisp) has seen a big increase in interest. It has just had a big jump on the Thoughtworks TechRadar and the community I am involved with is growing very fast. EuroClojure is the second major Clojure event in London in the last year and may established companies and startups are looking at Clojure.

DVCS adoption in the enterprise

Lots of developers are using GitHub for their open source projects, leading to the desire to use DVCS tools for their day to day work. GitHub and Atlassian have both online and behind the firewall solutions (GitHub F1, Atlassian Stash)

DevOps and Continuous delivery / deployment

The UK has many teams adopting a continuous delivery & deployment approach (forward, uSwitch).  Companies like Carrenza are using open source tools, cloud technology and lean startup principles to construct effective build pipelines for software development teams.  A few larger organisations are picking up ideas from the lean startup community to help them understand which projects deliver the most value to their customers.

Data Visualisation

Organisations looking to understand the value customers get from them (and are willing to pay for) are doing more Cohort analysis and to make sense of this are eventually turning to data visualisation techniques.  I see this as an up coming trend in the UK and hope many organisations as well as startups make use of these kind of tools to help them be effective.

Data visualisation is also encouraging developers to produce more creative and visually engaging experience with the websites and applications they deliver.  A more engaged user is a more productive one!

In Summary

Trends are a great way to quickly get a handle on technology and practices that may be of benefit.  However, these trends are simply that, a trend, so you should question what value you will get from jumping in too deep.

Keep an eye on startup companies and get an understanding of the appeal of their offering and see how you can enhance the experience of what you do.

Interesting start-ups

TouchType - the creators of SwiftKey, an intelligent keyboard on the Android platform.  Looking to do more exciting products and services now they have a highly popular product supporting their efforts.

Live Sheets - I have given a little bit of coaching to this startup to help them become more agile.  The have the potential to change the way people deal with their data, throwing away spreadsheets in favour of something much more interactive.

Atlassian - a startup that has just had its 10th birthday.  Investment made by Accel partners to help grow via acquisition and organic growth.  Spent the last couple of years moving from 3 month iterations to continuous delivery

Thank you.

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