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Agile Practices (Methodolgies)

Shazia Parveen
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 19, 2004
Posts: 10
Hi all,

has anyone got any information on factors which make agile methods useful for rapid application development projects and info on the advantages and disadvantages of using these methods........ and whether these methods could be used in a large organisation for web application development and control systems? if not why?

regards

Shaz
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Agile methods have two technical main characteristics: they strive to deliver a working system early (for early feedback and ROI) and to "embrace change" (to make the system amenable for changing requirements). I think that sounds like a good fit for RAD projects.

The biggest obstacle in introducing Agile practices (especially in a big company) probably is the "culture shock". Agile practices are meant to be used in - and induce - a chaordic working environment. ("chaordic" = "a mix between chaos and order") The idea is that pure chaotic environments are high risk (for obvious reasons), but that ordered ones are unproductive, because rigidity stiffles innovation. So Agile methods try to find a balance between chaos injected by the unexpected and only roughly specified, and order imposed by very short and highly disciplined feedback loops.

This demands from management to give up there command and control behaviour and switch to a management style where you just set the goals for the team, let the team decide how to reach it, provide the team all it needs and give regular feedback on how they are doing.


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
Scott Ambler
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 12, 2003
Posts: 608
At Choose the Right Software Method for the Job I compare and contrast a wide range of methods, some agile and some not. I also provide some advice for when to use each method.

Hope it helps, and any feedback would be appreciated.

- 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>
Shazia Parveen
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 19, 2004
Posts: 10
thankz for your information pple!!!.... jus need assistance on this ...would you say this approach be suited for Web Application development for a network based organisation? if so how and why? if not why not?

Am I right in understanding agile methods are not suited for critical systems such as real-time control systems???

thankz
shaz
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Shazia Parveen:
would you say this approach be suited for Web Application development for a network based organisation? if so how and why? if not why not?


Don't know what you mean by "network based", but regarding web applications, yes it is.

Basically, wether you do web applications or other kinds isn't a strong criteria for or against Agile development.

If at all, web applications are a *better* fit for Agility, because frequent releases tend to be rather easy to do. We have a team working on web-based telephone-conferencing software, and they are often releasing a new version every other day.


Am I right in understanding agile methods are not suited for critical systems such as real-time control systems???


I don't think so. Agile methods typically already aim for quite high quality. You might need to add some practices to the default ones, but I don't see why such a project couldn't be Agile in spirit.
Shazia Parveen
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 19, 2004
Posts: 10
Hi,

What i meant by 'network' is large organisation operating on a national/international level (hierarchy structure)...would agile methods be suited for development of software...as I read that these practices are very much suited for small/medium teams??....

shaz
Shazia Parveen
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 19, 2004
Posts: 10
....and as for developing critical control systems my understanding was that agile methods limit documentation... and organisation require heavy documentation for real-time systems? is this a misunderstanding then?

shaz
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Shazia Parveen:
What i meant by 'network' is large organisation operating on a national/international level (hierarchy structure)...would agile methods be suited for development of software...as I read that these practices are very much suited for small/medium teams??....


Agile methods fit best for small, colocated teams (say, a dozen people sitting together in a room), because they like to rely on face-to-face conversation very much.

If that doesn't match your team, you have to adjust some practices, but you can still try to be as Agile as possible.

Care to tell us more about your situation?
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Shazia Parveen:
....and as for developing critical control systems my understanding was that agile methods limit documentation... and organisation require heavy documentation for real-time systems? is this a misunderstanding then?


Agile methods actually try to minimize external documentation, yes. That doesn't mean that you aren't allowed to produce documents that are definetely needed, though.

Can you tell us more about what kind of documentation is required, and what it is used for?
Shazia Parveen
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 19, 2004
Posts: 10
Ilja....


I've msg you with the scenario...chk ur msg's


Shaz
Scott Ambler
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 12, 2003
Posts: 608
Argghhh!!! Agile methods do not limit documentation, they instead motivate you to maximize stakeholder investment and only create documentation (and models) which is just barely good enough. At Agile Documentation I describe how to be effective at writing documentation on agile projects (the advice would help you on non-agile projects too). At Just Barely Good Enough Models and Documents? I show how agile models and documents are the most cost effective possible.

- Scott
 
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