As you will see below, CRS is now using Agile Software Development for our R&D. This will bring significant benefits to our clients and we expect some exciting development announcements soon. However, this got me thinking about the concept of agility. It is a word that is used often in business lexicon. But what does it mean to be agile?

Sport medicine gives us the simplest definition of agility, and one we can apply easily to how we would like to behave as a business – especially in these tough times: Agility is the ability to move and change direction and position of the body quickly and effectively while under control.

Looking a little deeper though, Gartner defines business agility as “…the ability of an organisation to sense environmental change and to respond efficiently and effectively to that change.”

Gartner includes the following as the five basic steps to delivering business agility:

  • Sense
  • Strategise
  • Decide
  • Communicate
  • Act

Agile software development teams embrace change, accepting the idea that requirements will evolve throughout a project. In business we need to get used to the idea of embracing change. This is not a common trait in South African business, but one which we will need to learn if we want to remain competitive.

Coincidently, over the past few weeks, I’ve spent some time reading about Steve Jobs and how he performed and thought. Love him or hate him, Steve fundamentally altered the way we engage with technology. One aspect that came through from all the readings I did was Steve’s immense ability adapt and grow, sometimes sensing the change before it came.

I’m not suggesting we all start visiting clairvoyants, but there are certain sensible things we can do to ensure we innovate ahead of the curve.

Empower yourself with information. Stay ahead of the game when it comes to legislation and regulatory changes.

Use this to develop strategies, decide which path you will take, communicate it clearly to your staff and then get going. I genuinely believe that the companies who can remain flexible and open to change will be the ones that emerge from this gloomy economic period well ahead of the pack.

Most importantly, like Steve, never lose your sense of wonder and never stop talking about what you are thinking. We have not even begun to tap into the creative collective we have here in South Africa, imagine what we can achieve if we do.

I hope you find the information below to be of value and, if you have a moment, why don’t you click here to read the eulogy Steve Jobs’ sister wrote in the New York Times – I guarantee it will make you see your role as a business leader, and a human being, differently.

Until next time
James McKerrell

 

Failure of Training Layoff Scheme

Layoff scheme underspending “unacceptable”

It is unacceptable that only R40.2 million of the billions of rand allocated to the National Training Layoff Scheme have been spent, according to the Democratic Alliance.

The director general of the labour department, Nkosinati Nhleko, told the portfolio committee on labour that the National Training Layoff Scheme spent only R40.2m of its multibillion rand budget in the past financial year and provided only 6000 workers with new jobs.

Click here to read the full article.

 

SARS E@syfile Error

An error was identified in E@syfile under the following scenario:

Where there is a NIL tax directive therefore nothing to report under SARS code 4115, E@syfile was generating an error and would only accept the file when there was a 0 against SARS code 4115.

This has been fixed in the latest version of E@syfile, so if you receive the error, please upgrade to the latest E@syfile before trying to submit.

 

Agile Software Development Methodology

The CRS development team have started to utilise the Agile Software Development Methodology. This has already started to show positive results.

What is Agile Software Development?
There are many specific agile development methods, but most promote development, teamwork, collaboration, and process adaptability throughout the life-cycle of the project. Agile methods break tasks into small increments with minimal planning, and do not directly involve long-term planning. Overall risk is minimised and allows the project to adapt to changes quickly.

Some of the core principles of agile software development are as follows:

  1. Active user involvement is imperative
  2. The team must be empowered to make decisions
  3. Requirements evolve but the timescale is fixed
  4. Capture requirements at a high level; lightweight & visual
  5. Develop small, incremental releases and iterate
  6. Focus on frequent delivery of products
  7. Complete each feature before moving on to the next
  8. Apply the 80/20 rule
  9. Testing is integrated throughout the project lifecycle – test early and often
  10. A collaborative and cooperative approach between all stakeholders is essential

In essence, agile development methods involve a shift in focus and approach:

  • From processes and tools to individuals and interactions
  • From comprehensive documentation to working software
  • From contract negotiation to customer collaboration
  • From sticking to a plan to responding to change.

To learn more about how we are integrating these principles, drop Dave Philp a line: davep@crs.co.za.

 

Training Modules

We continue to offer a selection of training on our modules. Please click here for the training dates and venues.