Agility for IoT Solutions

Speed and quality are two key focus points in IoT (Internet of Things) solutions. The traditional view is that speed and quality are the competing aspects of product development; therefore, solutions used take much longer than the current solutions. This perception is widespread as the faster the product development, the less quality it may have. However, in this economic climate, speed is as important as quality. Consumers want products or services faster than before; hence, the businesses are under tremendous pressure to serve their customers due to ever-growing consumer demands.

Attributes to little Mark J — 7-year-old — who helped illustrate the message of this article in agility.

IoT solutions are usually created with utmost urgency due to their nature and the high expectations of the stakeholders. The product or service owners are under constant pressure to take their products and services to the market to stay competitive on the market. Consequently, this also puts a lot of influence on the IoT solution architects.

IoT devices require frequent updates for their software components, including firmware updates, also known as microcode, owing to increasing security concerns for vulnerable IoT devices. As we can see from the security literature, the intelligence level of hackers is growing.

Because of the agile trends in the industry and the focus to address the consumer demands, there is an ongoing need to deploy agile methods when producing IoT solutions. Agile approaches became the norm in IT environments, especially when creating IoT solutions and an IoT ecosystem in large organizations.

Agile also became popular in the manufacturing industry. There is a practice called “Agile Manufacturing” with tools and processes of the Agile approach designed for manufacturing. The aim of this practice is rapidly responding to customers, the market, and desired innovations.

As IoT solution architects, we need to take part in this agile approach for our IoT solutions. We are expected to provide quick architectural decisions and develop fast solution designs to meet the demands of the business.

We have little time to analyze and make decisions at the macro level. This time constraint leaves no or minimal margin for mistakes. Therefore, we need to know the security, availability, performance, and cost implications by heart.
In this case, to produce solutions in agility, substantial experience, and in-depth knowledge matter for the IoT solution architects. This prior knowledge can prepare the IoT solution architects to meet these agility demands effectively.

How can we speed up developing IoT solutions? How can we produce hardware, software, and combinations that are ready to market and serve the clients in agility? Also, how can we maintain operational quality while creating agility? The quick answer to these questions is to accelerate the solutions using established, Agile solution methods.

Using Agile methods is both the norm and the reality for IoT manufacturers, developers, and service providers. The project management discipline adapted Agile very quickly; therefore, it is pervasive to see multiple agile projects in many organizations.

Not only the project managers but also the technical professionals are affected by agility trends in many organizations. Therefore, we need to embrace agility and deploy accelerated techniques adhering to the principles of the Agile methods such as progressing iteratively, experimenting in small chunks, and applying lessons learned to the next iterations quickly.

This approach commonly touted by entrepreneurs as fail fast and fail cheaply. The failure is a misnomer or paradoxical as the lessons learned from these rapid experiments lead to success by speeding up the delivery.

About Author: Dr Mehmet Yildiz. You can find his updates on my author profile on Amazon.

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