Agile Development Practices 2008


Collaborative Leadership: A Secret to Agile Success

When members of a development project are asked to become a self-directed agile team, some claim that leadership and leaders are obsolete. Or, is a different type of leadership exactly what agile teams need to truly flourish? Pollyanna Pixton describes a new, collaborative leadership style that does not attempt to control or micro-manage. It's one that asks the right questions at the right time to generate new ideas and develop creative products that customers need and want.

Pollyanna Pixton, Accelinnova

Do the Right Thing: Adapting Requirements Practices for Agile Projects

Some agile teams rely on user stories alone to articulate requirements, struggle with requirements rework on large agile projects, and spend too much time thrashing on requirements during iterations. Requirements expert and agile coach, Ellen Gottesdiener shares a wide spectrum of requirements practices ranging from traditional to agile to help you break out of the cookie-cutter mentality that some take toward requirements elicitation.

Ellen Gottesdiener, EBG Consulting, Inc.

Driving Agile Transformation from the Top Down

While agile practices are starting to make their way into large enterprises, in most instances this has been a "bottom up" movement driven through grassroots efforts. But, as success stories draw attention to the benefits of agile practices, an increasing number of executives are considering making an organization-wide agile transition. It is an attractive idea, but what does an agile transition look like when it comes as a mandate from the top?

David Wilby, Borland Software
Driving User Stories from Business Value

Implementations of agile and Scrum typically employ user stories as the primary method for discovering requirements. User stories provide the mechanism for the fast, flexible flow of ideas into completed increments of software. What's missing is a practical approach to discovering user stories from top-down, business valued, and prioritized capabilities. Guy Beaver shares proven approaches to allow a project-driven organization to transition to business features that can be predictably estimated and planned for release.

Guy Beaver, Net Objectives
From Concept to Product Backlog: What Happens Before Iteration Zero

Many agile methodologies start with a product owner walking into a room with a pile of money and a stack of prioritized story cards and then telling the development team to start building a system. These same methodologies often eschew any form of "big upfront" activities and leave us in such a rush to deliver business value that we don't have time to do architecture, user/task research, etc. While a pile of story cards may be the first thing the development team sees, this is rarely the first set of activities in a project.

Gerard Meszaros, ClearStream Consulting

Getting Agile with Legacy Code

Applying agile methods to legacy code is challenging. You have to live with code that is not as testable or as modular as you'd like, and you have to manage support concerns that disrupt your iteration plan-all while trying to establish new build and testing practices. Even if your project is agile, you may have dependencies on legacy projects that are not delivering at iteration boundaries.

Steve Berczuk, Cyrus Innovation

Integrating Enterprise SOA Architecture with Scrum Development Methodology

Many processes used to implement an enterprise architecture are in conflict with the agile development approach. An effective enterprise architecture framework represents the organization as it is today and as it is envisioned in the future. However, a key agile concept is that we design and build for today-and worry about the future only when it arrives. Steven Driver has found that a small change to the Scrum process flow allows easy integration of an enterprise architecture into the agile development of new systems.

Steven Driver, Airlines Reporting Corporation
Introduction to Multi-Stage Continuous Integration

A full, continuous integration build and test is a key component of most agile processes. Unfortunately, as systems grow in size through consecutive iterations, these builds can easily take thirty minutes or more. Before you finish the build, other people's check-ins will invalidate your continuous integration (CI) results. Multi-stage CI solves this problem by limiting project-wide churn and allowing CI to scale to large projects.

Damon Poole, AccuRev
Maximizing Team Dynamics and Overcoming Dysfunction in Agile Environments

Change can be painful, but staying stagnant can hurt even more. Deciding to "go agile" may be the right choice for many companies, but seeing Scrum or XP as the next silver bullet can be a mistake, or perhaps the right medicine at the wrong time. In the rush to be faster, better, cheaper, or super-innovative, it's possible to become trapped in organizational dysfunction, even to the extent whereby good medicine won't work. When companies seek to "become agile," what roadblocks might they hit that could increase risk of failure?

Michael Mah, QSM Associates, Inc.

Mistakes Agile Teams Make

The road to hell is paved with good intentions-with a special section reserved for those who have tried to "go agile". Agile adoption can fail because a number of common, large-scale, organizational issues. A lack of executive-level support can squash promising improvements among the day-to-day producers. Sometimes the organization is in such disarray that delivering perfect features perfectly wouldn't keep customers satisfied. While these are real and important, J. B.

JB Rainsberger, Diaspar Software Services


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