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What Is Agile Development & What does it Imply?

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1 What Is Agile Development & What does it Imply?
Alistair Cockburn

2 Talk structure What agile is (isn’t), and what it implies
What is ‘agile’, how did it get there? Methodology theory meets project details Getting / Misconstruing the message

3 ‘Agile’ got there by winning the development races in the turbulent 1990s.
Agile techniques were in use since the beginning. Agile (mobility-based) techniques did not show competitive advantage in the 1970s / 1980s, but did during the 1990s and do now. Trial runs of current agile methodologies, RAD DSDM XP Crystal Scrum Adaptive

4 Agile software development is about valuing “maneuverability” and “efficiency”
Differing tactics fit differing focuses of attention: ? predictability ? repeatability ? cost ? agility Agile methods make greater use of: + Individuals and interactions + Working software + Customer collaboration + Responding to change Within ‘agility,’ different tactics fit different situations (“Agile” is not just a retitling of Extreme Programming !)

5 Software development is making ideas concrete in an economic context.
People inventing / communicating, Solving a problem Creating a solution Using limited languages Where every choice has economic consequences, and resources are limited Which they don’t fully understand & keeps changing under them

6 A resource-limited cooperative game of invention and communication
Primary Goal  Deliver this software Secondary Goal  Set up for the next game Elements of the Game: People, Cooperation, Invention, Communication (p.s. The game never repeats !!) Infinite Organization Survival Career Management Competitive Cooperative Finite w/ no fixed end Jazz music King-of-the-hill wrestling Finite & goal-directed Tennis Poker Rock-Climbing Games Software Development

7 Key topics in the cooperative game
1. Different tactics for different projects 2. People’s Personalities, Motivation, Goal Alignment 3. Talent & Skill (fewer better people) 4. Communication (developers - developers - users) 5. Energy Management (minimal requirements/design) 6. Reflecting on what works / doesn’t work 7. Quality in work (good, simple designs) 8. Good Tools (configuration management, testing) 9. Tacit knowledge, verbal communication 10. Frequent Delivery (incremental development)

8 The players in the game are “People,” Highly spontaneous, active devices
Weak on: Strong on: Consistency Communicating Discipline Looking around Following instructions Copy / modify-ing Motivated by: Pride in work Pride in contributing Pride in accomplishment

9 People communicate most effectively interactively, face-to-face.
2 people at whiteboard 2 people on phone Communication Effectiveness Photo courtesy of Evant corp. Videotape 2 people on Paper Richness of communication channel

10 Methodology meets Project details:
Methodology meets Project details: (a) Methodology = theory of a project Methodology Activities Milestones Values Quality Process Teams Regression tests Object model Project plan Use cases Tester MBWA Use cases CRC cards Designer Documenter Project manager Products Techniques Roles Microsoft Project 3month increments UML / OMT C++ Microsoft Project STP Envy/Developer Modeling Java programming JAD facilitation Personality Standards Tools Skills

11 “Ecosystem” = the actual project details
“Ecosystem” = the actual project details. (b) People are stuffed full of personality Methodology Ecosystem Values Values Activities Milestones Jenny Jim Peter Annika Quality Process Teams Tester Designer Documenter Project manager Products Techniques Roles People Standards Tools Skills Personality

12 Methodology and Ecosystem are always in interplay
When each changes, the ecosystem rearranges itself. Ecosystem: Project details (“environment”) Staff expertise (“species”) Specific dominant / mild people (“predators”) Flights of stairs people must climb (“cliffs”) Office layout (“terrain”) Amicability between the individuals

13 Projects get restructured around ecosystem details
Marketing group Business analysts Jenny (Pete) Marketplace Programmers Bill Mary

14 Misconstruing the message: 1. Agile is hacking.
Hackers “Avoid planning” “Spend all their time coding” “Talk to each other when they are stuck [only]” “Management caves in out of fear” Agilists Plan regularly Test according to project priorities, recheck results with users often. Talk to each other and customers as a matter of practice Expect management to provide priorities, to participate jointly in making project adjustments. (Hacker interpretations are available & inevitable.)

15 Misconstruing the message 2. Agile only works with the best developers.
Every project needs at least one experienced and competent lead person. (==Critical Success Factor) Each experienced and competent person on the team permits the presence of 4-5 “average” or learning people. With that skill mix, agile techniques have been shown to work many times.

16 Getting the message: 1. Agile techniques are “cheating”.
· Hire good people; · Seat them close together to help each other out; · ... close to the customers and users; · Arrange for rapid feedback on decisions; · Let them find fast ways to document their work; · Cut out the bureaucracy. This is: cheating stacking the deck the heart of agile software development a good idea

17 Getting the message: 2. Agile won’t work for all projects.
Right. Not every project team - values agility - can set up the needed trust and communication (p.s. Business isn’t fair).

18 Alistair Cockburn alistair. cockburn@acm. org http://members. aol
Alistair Cockburn

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