A site devoted to discussing techniques that promote quality and ethical practices in software development.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Agile Software Development

Many people thought agile software development is all about doing things fast and no need to do planning and design but let's not be too fast.

A recent report on Agile movement emphases that many have
mistaken belief by some adherents that no requirements planning or architecture should be devised before embarking on a project.
In Jim Highsmith's book "Agile Software Development Ecosystems", he said:
Agility means quickness, lightness, and nimbleness - the ability to act rapidly, the ability to do the minimum necessary to get a job done, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions.
They become skilled, and Agile, from long hours of training and effective mentoring. Sometimes their drills are repetitive and prescriptive, but only as part of learning.

Agility also requires discipline and skill. A skilled software designer can be more agile than a beginner because he or she has a better sense of quality.
"You need to have a very good discipline in place to be able to respond in turbulent times, yet simultaneously know when to be 'undisciplined.' I view anticipation to be actively seeking situations where the generally accepted guiding rules or principles no longer apply, or where shortcuts are the least risky approach to take to gaining some objective. To be able to understand when the rules don't apply, you need to completely understand when they do"..... He has to be skilled before he could be agile.

Agile individuals can improvise, they know the rules and boundaries, but they also know when the problem at hand has moved into uncharted areas. They know how to extend their knowledge into unforeseen realms, to experiment, and to learn.
These paragraphs in his book are so accurate in describing the agile software development that everyone considering adopting any agile approach should recite. I recommend this book to anyone serious about adopting Agile Software Development. This book lacks a lot of hypes that are frequently found in books trying to sell this movement.

However, far too many managers and developers only thought agile software development as a free ticket to experiment, and forgetting the to learn bit. Manager has forgotten about using skilled person who are more agile than a beginner and discipline to carry out the project. In turbulent times, they opt for 'undiscipline' approach rather than disciplined. No wonder so many managers have a bad run with Agile movement.

The conference pulled no punches and declared that "Transitioning to agile can be difficult". Don't try to introduce this if you have an important product to deliver on time when you have no experience in Agile Development.

How do you get skilled people? These paragraphs provide the answer. Sadly, managers have conveniently overlooked this.

These paragraphs also answer how 'pair-programming' works in agile movement. Often people would argue that you do not need to start the project with skilled people because pair-programming would lift the game. According to Jim, Agile developers are skilled "from long hours of training and effective mentoring". Otherwise, pair-programming would exploit human frailty by gyrating to a comfort zone, which may not produce the desirable result. Most likely, like many things in life, it is harder to develop virtuous habit than bad ones.

No comments:

Blog Archive