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The cloud model provides convenient, affordable, and on-demand computing resources tailored for software development teams as well as augmenting in-house IT environments. Today's leading companies use the cloud to change IT to be more agile and power their agile software development teams. Below are five tips that enable them to deliver agile IT.

1. Don't change the agile process to fit your legacy IT; change IT to be agile
This cannot be overstated enough for best practices. The very essence of the agile model is trust and delegation, yet some IT organizations refuse to operate with these principles in mind. They claim to support the agile development model, but require the developers to change their model to fit the IT architecture already implemented. Successful IT organizations change their model to be more agile and self-service oriented therefore enabling development teams and not blocking them.

2. Empower Developers with self-service environments
Enable your developers by creating operational templates specific to each development project, setting consumption policies and providing an easy way for developers to consume IT services. Once you adopt an agile model, trust your developers and empower them with self-service environments. IT can reduce the amount of support they need to provide and development teams get the flexibility they need on-demand.

3. Expect rapid changes and fast iteration to be the new normal
Be ready to architect IT to be agile, configurable, scalable and flexible. An agile development model is inherently fast paced, so be willing to accommodate change and quickly adapt to what works and what does not. Expect rapid iteration and design your IT processes accordingly.

4. Collaboration is at the heart of agile development
Agile teams set the stage for customers, lines of business, QA, and support professionals from day one. All of these stakeholders are expected to operate on the application based on the specific roles they play within the team. If the IT environment cannot be easily replicated and shared with all stakeholders then the developers will not adopt it.

5. Maintain visibility and control over your IT operations
Agile IT does not eliminate security and governance needs. IT departments need to set security policies and enforce them through granular access control. They need to have complete visibility into quota usage, resource management, and compliance. Cloud providers like Skytap can easily enable security and governance needs for IT departments.

You can transform existing IT into an agile IT that development teams will embrace. The process isn't difficult - but you must rethink your IT architecture and implement a solution that is developer-friendly.

About the Author: Nate Odell is Director of Marketing at Skytap, a leading provider of cloud automation solutions. He is an industry veteran with a successful 11-year career in B2B marketing for technology startups. Follow Nate on Twitter @NateOdell25 or @Skytap.

Photo by artM