House of Agile: 4 Ways the Database Wages War on Agile Development

House of Old v. House of Agile

Who rules your database environment?



Now that season 6 of Game of Thrones has started, winter will come again to Westeros. The Lannisters and the Starks are at it again. The question marks left from the season 5 finale will be filled in (I hope).

And your company’s agile application development teams will continue to outpace the more traditional, manual release process of database development.

Letting agile take the throne

Sure, current database development processes help reduce the risk of data loss in a live production database. But they’re also causing a huge bottleneck, keeping the organization as a whole from realizing the full promise of agile: the ability to release software in prompt response to market changes.

Application developers have long pledged their allegiance to House Agile, taking advantage of streamlined practices to shorten development cycles and reduce the risks associated with change. So what’s really stopping database developers from overthrowing their traditional processes and letting agile take the throne?

Stark contrasts

As much of the cast of Game of Thrones seems to know, a few important differences between these houses of application and database development can wage war on your progress toward agile:

  • “One of our giants went into your tunnel and never came out again.” When app developers discover a new version has defects, it’s easy to restore the old version and overwrite the new version temporarily. Try that with a database and your data or interim changes (additions, edits, deletions) probably won’t come out again.
  • “Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again.” Version control is indispensable to app development teams as a single source of truth. In database development, however, the production database itself is often considered the single source of truth, but if you can’t keep the different instances (dev, test, prod, etc.) in sync, you’ll end up with chaos across the deployment pipeline.
  • "Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle." App developers release entire code bases with high frequency because their deployment pipeline is fully automated. Database developers get to the same castle but take the slower, manual route to updating the database from one state to the next.
  • “In the game of thrones, even the humblest pieces can have wills of their own. Sometimes they refuse to make the moves you’ve planned for them.” Application teams can implement urgent changes quickly because their pipeline is automated. When pressured to keep up, database professionals will likely scramble and fast-track the changes into production with limited testing, then find out what those humble pieces think of the moves planned for them.

Just as the Lannisters have been wreaking havoc for generations, these vastly different environments don’t seem to be going away any time soon.  But you can begin your journey toward House Agile by automating as many of your traditional processes as possible.

Check out this e-book: Getting Agile with Database Development

Like Brienne and Podrick, we can't knight you, but we can teach you how to fight. We’ve put together an e-book, It’s Time to Get Agile, loaded with guiding principles for creating agile database development environments and suggested resources to help you get there.

Realizing the promise of agile doesn’t have to be just a fantasy. Take a look at our e-book to get armed with the right tools to help you proudly swing your agile sword.