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20040312 Friday March 12, 2004

Agile Software Development Ecosystems I've had a lot of recent conversations about agile software development. Unless the practices have meaning to you (i.e. you're a software engineer, you manage them or interact with their outputs), talking about "extreme programming", "scrum" and other agile practices probably sounds like a lot buzzword bouncing.

There are a lot of different flavors of agile development. Some of them work best, ideally anyway, if all of the practices in that particular flavor's agile "recipe" are adhered to. It's been my experience that most situations are less than ideal. People come to work with a lot of preconceptions about the right way to do things or with their own ego issues that get in the way of buying into an agile methodology lock, stock and barrel. However, I found the book Agile Software Development Ecosystems (by Jim Highsmith) very thought provoking and led me to conclude that depending on the context of the workgroup, there may be no perfect fit for a particular methodology but not to despair. If you can get people to agree upon principles and values about what they want to accomplish, values that are open to new ideas and not doctrinaire about waterfall processes, it is possible (and in fact likely) to create an agile environment borrowing what is needed from one or many of the established agile development flavors. A properly established environment should be generative of agile practices and that's what I'm really looking for in my work place - instead of rigid rules, agree upon principles and communication norms and the appropriate practices will become clear as everyone's work styles come into play.

At least, that's my current thinking on the matter; I'm open to new ideas. ( Mar 12 2004, 10:53:22 AM PST ) Permalink