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Agile Techniques for Integration projects?

 
YC Ryk
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hi,
I have recently started researching various methodologies, with the goal of coming up with something useful for my project team. I have to admit that initially I was overwhelmed by the amount and excellent quality of the information out there. after a lot of reading(and based on some experience with RUP) I was quite excited about the various agile techniques. the more i read about it, I found that while these techniques are easy to understand, and possibly convenient to use, i got the impression that they are meant more for product development type projects. Is this impression true? if its not(and believe me, I'd love it to be false!), how feasible is it to apply them to projects which involve more integration type tasks, such as creating the 'glue' between existing systems. the general characteristics of my team projects are :

1. small teams : 3-6 developers per project
2. significant amounts of customer interaction
3. usually need to work with outside System integrators(and their developers)
4. project revolve around putting together existing products to create solutions, usually no new product development
5. occasionally involves distributed teams(yes, i know Alistair's view to co-locate them )
hope this questions make sense.
regards,
ryk
 
Lasse Koskela
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The agile principles can be applied to lot more than just product development (or software development for that matter). Similarly, agile methods are not by definition unsuitable for systems integration projects. In composing systems out of off-the-shelf products, an essential property to evaluate with regard to suitability for an agile process is whether the integration can be done incrementally (or in small enough pieces in general so that you're not faced with an all-or-nothing gamble one week before the deadline).
 
Stan James
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Working with outside integrators, vendors, etc can surely be a risk. If you get into a short iteration rhythm that relies on fast answers to questions and fast decisions you may find working with somebody else's schedule gets in your way. On my team we recognize certain stories require weeks of lead time with outside groups, others require none. It's definitely less agile ... some stories cannot be shifted to an earlier iteration no matter how priorities change.
 
YC Ryk
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hi folks,
thanks for your responses. Stan, you hit the nail right on the head! we often are in situations where we're waiting for external parties to revert to us with regards to schedules, code drops, design validations etc. in this case, even if there is a theoretical possibility of doing incremental development, its often hampered by non-technical issues.

does anyone have any experience, or know of any such kind of integration projects where Agile methodologies have been used?
thanks,
ryk
 
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