This is part one of a five part series where we will present five distinct challenges that if left unaddressed will drastically reduce an organization’s ability to gain the benefits promised by a move to Agile development methods. Building, testing, and deploying software by hand is tedious and inefficient. There is little commonality and repeatability among these tasks, especially when diverse, distributed teams are creating software. Communication workarounds such as email and team wikis are helpful, but don’t simplify the daunting challenges of coordinating the scattered, often-dissimilar systems that perform the work. Automation replaces ad-hoc, manual procedures with a collection of well-designed, reusable, and flexible templates. This is a much faster and more accurate way to build software. It also simplifies the job of synchronizing heterogeneous systems: a single build and test method will work across all platforms, freeing developers and testers to focus on their primary responsibilities. Come back next week for the second installment of the 5 week series continuing with performance inefficiencies.