Four criteria characterize practical software development: Speed, maintainability of the product, scalability of both the development team and the software. On the occasion of a digital project at a German retail chain, we conducted a lengthy interview with one of the client’s IT experts. The company develops its specialist apps using microservices wherever possible. We have reproduced key findings from the interview in this article in edited form. The interview partner’s statements are in italics, our notes are in base font. We will be happy to provide the long version on request.

To prepare for the meeting, we presented the interview partner with a catalog of criteria and questions. The IT expert prioritized the content from his point of view. The result surprised us. Of all things, the much-vaunted freedom that agile process models in particular grant app developers only appears at the end of the list. Technical topics such as modularization, rollout and test automation, and monitoring of microservices are at the top of the list.

Only then do organizational aspects such as operational structures and the work culture have an impact. Here, agile process models prove to be advantageous. However, the main driver of project success is not the work culture, but the technical repertoire used to solve a technical problem.