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green team considers Agile db dev

Juan Rolando Prieur-Reza
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Joined: Jun 20, 2003
Posts: 236
Scott Ambler,
I have just scanned your book's table of contents and would like to ask you for an opinion on my problem. I have just been asked to plan the development of a new system that is database-centric. My problem is that the customer/management team is completely "green" (new) to defining and managing a software development project. They know nothing of J2EE, EJB-QL, and certainly nothing about development processes. They kind of know that "SQL" is a good database thingy. But they have the money and decision-making authority.
I, however, always work within a "process," such as UP. I need to corral these "leaders" into some kind of sw process. But they are not inclined toward any high ceremony workflows. I will have myself and one or two other experienced developers/DBAs at my disposal. So, my feeling is that I might give the "managers" a little reading material on Agile process.
Agile seems suited, but the managers/customers do not realize that they will have to participate in iteration (i.e. do work) to make the project happen. They are unprepared for seeing their nice "spec" change and change.
Question: Which chapters or additional material would you suggest that can both inform and persuade these not-yet-competent software managers to use Agile in this database-centric project?
Thank you in advance
[ January 14, 2004: Message edited by: john prieur ]

Juan Rolando Prieur-Reza, M.S., LSSBB, SCEA, SCBCD, SCWCD, SCJP/1.6, IBM OOAD, SCSA
Lasse Koskela
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Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
You might employ the "project challenge factors" stats from the legendary Chaos Report by the Standish Group --> Changing requirements made #3 on the list and lack of user involvement is numero uno...


Author of Test Driven (2007) and Effective Unit Testing (2013) [Blog] [HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch]
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by john prieur:
Question: Which chapters or additional material would you suggest that can both inform and persuade these not-yet-competent software managers to use Agile in this database-centric project?

I doubt that any reading material will do the trick. What might be more effective is talking with them about their needs, showing them that you do understand their needs, and together try to find solutions you both can work with.


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Lasse Koskela
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Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
Oh, the golden rule for persuading your management:
Make it look like it was they who came up with the idea
Scott Ambler
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Joined: Dec 12, 2003
Posts: 608
JP: I have just scanned your book's table of contents and would like to ask you for an opinion on my problem. I have just been asked to plan the development of a new system that is database-centric. My problem is that the customer/management team is completely "green" (new) to defining and managing a software development project. They know nothing of J2EE, EJB-QL, and certainly nothing about development processes. They kind of know that "SQL" is a good database thingy. But they have the money and decision-making authority.
Scott: They need to learn to trust your judgement on issues like this, otherwise why have they hired you? You should be able to explain your suggestion to go this way, discuss the trade-offs, and then they should hopefully support your decision. If things don't work like this I would take it as a warning sign and would reconsider participating in the project.
JP: I, however, always work within a "process," such as UP. I need to corral these "leaders" into some kind of sw process. But they are not inclined toward any high ceremony workflows.
Scott: Then cut down on the ceremony. RUP can be streamlined.
JP: I will have myself and one or two other experienced developers/DBAs at my disposal. So, my feeling is that I might give the "managers" a little reading material on Agile process.
Scott: Sure, can't hurt. Although a presentation focusing on benefits might be a better approach.
JP: Agile seems suited, but the managers/customers do not realize that they will have to participate in iteration (i.e. do work) to make the project happen. They are unprepared for seeing their nice "spec" change and change.
Scott: Focus less on the spec and more on the software. Also, if they do start to thrash point out the cost of doing so and try to steer them in a good direction.

Question: Which chapters or additional material would you suggest that can both inform and persuade these not-yet-competent software managers to use Agile in this database-centric project?

Scott: I'd stick with a presentation. Or, if that doesn't seem to work you might want to consider a short strategy session where everyone gets together and you talk it out. This is something I do a fair bit, see http://www.ronin-intl.com/services/rasp.html, if you're interested.
- Scott


<a href="http://www-306.ibm.com/software/rational/bios/ambler.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Scott W. Ambler</a><br />Practice Leader Agile Development, IBM Rational<br /> <br />Now available: <a href="http://www.ambysoft.com/books/refactoringDatabases.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Refactoring Databases: Evolutionary Database Design</a>
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
You might also want to look at "Introducing New Ideas into Organizations" for some tips...
Juan Rolando Prieur-Reza
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Joined: Jun 20, 2003
Posts: 236
Thanks, Scott and the others. Your feedback is quite valuable to me
 
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