Software development company DVT has launched a dedicated agile training and consulting business unit which will be run by IT industry veteran Themi Themistocleous. DVT Agile will train and consult on agile, and run agile events and forums nationally.

“Themi has a long and illustrious background in many aspects of IT and Training, and has worked with many of our senior team in the past,” says Chris Wilkins, CEO of DVT. “DVT has been using agile and consulting on agile for software development for a couple of years now. With Themi at the helm of our new practice, we aim to become the voice of agile in South Africa and to ultimately set the national standards for agile training and consulting.”

Themistocleous says there have been both successes and challenges with agile methodologies. “According to latest research, agile methodologies are no more successful than iterative ones. Although agile addresses many of the challenges of software development, pure agile does not address aspects required in organisations, such as project estimation, costing, compliance, governance and risk.”

Recognising that agile can present many challenges in more complex enterprise environments and that a more disciplined approach can result in greater development project success, Themistocleous has concluded an agreement with Scott Ambler + Associates, a company founded by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines, who are software engineers, consultants, authors and global experts on agile development. Among their many publications is a handbook titled “Disciplined Agile Delivery: A Practitioner’s Guide to Agile Software Delivery in the Enterprise”, which details their approach to disciplined agile delivery (DAD).

In terms of the agreement, DVT’s agile business unit will train aspiring agile practitioners on this approach, which builds on and enhances such agile techniques as Scrum , and takes a truly disciplined approach captured in a process decision framework, which Lines and Ambler have described as a people-first, learning-oriented hybrid agile approach to IT solution delivery. It has a risk-value delivery lifecycle, is goal-driven and enterprise aware, and provides a foundation from which to scale agile. DAD adopts strategies from Scrum, XP, Agile Modelling, Agile Data, Kanban, DevOps, and many more, providing advice on how to apply these techniques together for an effective project outcome.

Ambler defines DAD as an “evolutionary (iterative and incremental) approach which regularly produces high quality solutions in a cost-effective and timely manner via a risk and value driven life cycle. It is performed in a highly collaborative, disciplined, and self-organizing manner within an appropriate governance framework, with active stakeholder participation to ensure that the team understands and addresses the changing needs of its stakeholders to maximize business value provided”.

“I have worked with more than 200 companies to move them from the waterfall approach of software development – which has many well-documented disadvantages, to an iterative and incremental approach and now a disciplined agile approach, ,” says Themistocleous. “Now that we have established a partnership with Scott Ambler and Associates, who are the leading proponents in the world of disciplined agile development, DVT will be the authority on training, advice, mentoring and consulting in this software development arena.”

Themistocleous says he aims to help customers improve their success in software development. “We will bring to South African organisations a deep understanding of the fundamentals of DAD, and enable development teams to take a goals-driven approach to tailor DAD for their needs.”

He stresses that DAD does not replace Scrum, but rather extends it. “Organisations which have already adopted Scrum will be given the capabilities to build on their Scrum processes while getting all the benefits of DAD.

“The DAD approach makes it easier to scale agile development, and to address complex business problems in ways that meet the initial promise of agile, which is largely about the rapid delivery of business value, and the significant reduction of the overall risk associated with software development.”