Implement Self-Service Approach in Agile Software Development (How to Guide)

Self-service approach is considered to be a game changer in agile software development, and rightly so. It makes software product support processes easier and speedier that eventually result in better consumer experiences and increased productivity.

Though, the word self-service is self-explanatory, let us understand what self-service approach is in technical parlance. Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, defines Self-Service Analytics as:

A form of business intelligence (BI) in which line-of-business professionals are enabled and encouraged to perform queries and generate reports on their own, with nominal IT support. Self-service analytics is often characterized by simple-to-use BI tools with basic analytic capabilities and an underlying data model that has been simplified or scaled down for ease of understanding and straightforward data access.

Keeping in mind this detailed definition; it would be interesting to discuss why self-service approach in agile software development process is the need of the hour. We would also discuss how it can make a substantial difference in the overall growth of the enterprises and create better consumer experiences.

Reasons for implementing self-service approach in agile software development

In any software development cycle, access to data when it is needed is crucial to successfully deliver the product. Many a times, developers need to wait to have an access to this crucial data and subsequent insights.

The reason why they have to wait is access to data is not often granted to everybody in the enterprises. It is restricted to a group of people who have certain rank and authority in the organization.

This in turn leads to the unnecessary delay in the product development. Also, when certain people are not given some control or authority when it is an absolute requirement for their work, it arouses a sense of not belonging to the organization.

This may cause disinterest and loss of enthusiasm in the team. And, when a team does not feel engaged enough in the product development, it certainly leads to a mediocre product, and therefore, invites unwarranted consumer experiences.

Self-service approach can be the exact solution to address this issue of slow access to data in agile software development.

Traditional Business Intelligence (BI) solutions vs. modern solutions based on self-service approach

Any software development cycle has three major components: data collection; storage; and processing. The processing component includes analytical outputs and subsequent decision-making.

It is in this process that enterprises have a great opportunity to thoroughly examine the difference between traditional BI solutions and the modern solutions that are based on self-service approach.

Let us explore some of the things that happen when enterprises opt for traditional BI solutions over modern solutions based on self-service approach in agile software development:

  • Developers in various teams send requests for the data.
  • BI engineers receive the request.
  • They activate processes to collect the data.
  • They transmit the data to the concerned team.
  • The team then resumes the work and gives the latest update to the BI engineers who hold the power and rank.
  • BI engineers then start decision-making process.

Do you see the tediousness of the entire process? It is this delay and slowness that make the traditional BI solutions obsolete now, especially in the fast pace environment where agile software development usually takes place.

Also, the costs of hiring BI engineers are too high as they are in high demand. As per Glassdoor, an average BI engineer position costs more than $25 billion per year to the US businesses as an average salary for these engineers is about $102k.

So, when an enterprise hires these BI engineers for departments such as IT or data department, it inevitably costs a bomb. The enterprise’s intention to bridge the gap between the developers, data, and informed decisions ultimately turns out to be costly as well as tedious.

Challenges in implementing self-service approach in agile software development

Though self-service approach is the solution to the problems that we discussed above, it too comes with its own set of challenges. Prima facie, the challenges in implementation of self-service approach may seem like the same exact problems that it tries to solve rather than the solution to those problems. Let us have a look at some of these challenges:

  • You need to have a thorough understanding of the organization and its processes which means you need to have these kinds of resources.
  • You need to understand how and what kind of common data requests your enterprises is always in need of which again means you need to have resources for this too.
  • You need to invest money upfront which obviously means you need to have money too!

These things may come across as the same problems that self-service approach tries to solve. However, these are just initial challenges. Once, an enterprise establishes the self-service approach across the processes, it becomes a smooth ride for all the stakeholders.

Let us have a look at how enterprises can successfully implement Agile servant leadership through software development.

How to successfully implement self-service approach in agile software development

There are three major factors to consider before setting up self-service approach across the organization. They are:

  • Identification
  • Classification
  • Analyses

In identification, you need to identify:

  • Repeating requests
  • Teams or users who make frequent requests
  • Processing time of the requests

In classification, you need to classify the requests:

  • Requests from any single group or team
  • Requests from any specific product cycle
  • Type of requests

In analyses, you may need to analyse:

  • Processes that need to be made self-service processes
  • How much time it will take to implement the new approach
  • How much money it will take to establish the functional self-service approach in agile software development

There are several solutions like ticketing tool or workflow automation that can be used to implement self-service approach seamlessly and successfully.

However, when enterprises try sincerely to execute self-service processes seamlessly across the organization, following factors need to be taken into consideration:

  • Ease of use for the non-technical users.
  • Investment in fast platforms so that users do not have to spend much time on it for their unique needs.
  • Robust governance of the data.
  • Facilitating the data to only those who should be using that set of data.
  • Ensuring protection and security of data through CRUD permissions—create, read, update, delete.
  • Preventing unwarranted leaks, access, and any other insider threats.
  • Discretion in choosing the right people for the right set of tools.
  • Focus on the needs and ease of end users and business users.
  • Relentless efforts to create collaborative environment

When all of these are duly taken into consideration, nothing can stop the enterprises from reaping the benefits of self-service approach in agile software development.
Let us have a look at some of the major benefits of implementing self-service approach in agile software development.

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Benefits of self-service integration in software development

While there are numerous benefits of adapting to self-service approach in agile software development, one of the most obvious of them is self-sufficiency which forms the very core of self-service approach. It removes all the factors or the causes that made the team or the users dependent on the others to move forward.

Following are some other major benefits of implementing self-service approach in agile software development:

  • Empowers non-technical users or business users as it uses no-code development.
  • Makes technology easier and accessible to those who are not tech-savvy.
  • Creates a more liberal and lighter world where non-technical users too can build analytical products.
  • Makes middleman redundant in the entire software development cycle.
  • Helps remove many steps in supply chain, thereby, speeds up the development process.
  • Creates a data-driven culture.
  • Prompts data-driven inquiries.
  • Gives more space to create transparent environment in the organization.
  • Facilitates alignment in metrics monitoring.
  • Improves organizational lingo.
  • Serves as the one-stop solution to understand delays and subsequent solutions.
  • Frees up technical resources.
  • Those freed up resources can take up more challenging, high-value, long-term projects that yield higher returns on investment.
  • Creates so many opportunities to develop innovative tools.
  • Empowers teams with absolute self-reliance or zero dependency.
  • Gives much more freedom to developers to experiment and learn new things at their own pace.


In the light of the discussion, it is clear that though there are challenges in adapting to self-service approach in agile software development, efforts and investment in doing so are indeed worth it.

It certainly helps in better management and analysis of the data. Following points can make self-service approach one of your best investments so far:

➣ Never losing sight of the big picture
➣ Keep it simple so that there is no collapse of analysis
➣ Make it user-friendly so that everyone can benefit
➣ Make it in a way so that everyone can collaborate and participate in building data-driven solutions.
➣ Create clear and robust data governance, security, and protection systems around it.

Bacancy Technology strives to create state-of-the-art solutions based on self-service approach. We make it simpler and easier for our clients so that the entire process is seamless and smooth.

In nutshell, let there be more freedom, flexibility, fun, creativity, productivity, and last but not least, self-sufficiency in your enterprise when you adapt to self-service approach in Agile software development.

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