Can Agile work on the Mainframe?

By Amanda Maxwell

Agile development is everywhere. Can it apply to the mainframe as well?

For nearly twenty years, software developers have adopted Agile methods and have made them standard for structuring their project life cycle. Overall, the results are positive once people get used to the pattern of sprints and flexibility. Instead of having highly distinct divisions, there is an emphasis on increased team communications. Shorter development cycles identify defects or design flaws early and allow for fixes to be made quickly.

However, it seems that this development approach is best suited for systems that are as flexible and responsive as the methods themselves. So where does this leave the older, high-performing platforms like the mainframe? Can Agile methodologies be applied to them, or should zOS or iSeries developers stick to the traditional waterfall development process?

From my point of view, an Agile mainframe is possible. I'm sure there are companies that have already accomplished it, too. The catch is that it would take a lot of work to overturn the “usual way of doing things” and get everyone on board with the new processes. Of course, there are also unique hardware and/or tooling challenges that vary from company to company.

What do you think - Is an Agile mainframe possible?

Tags: Agile, Mainframe