The Scrum product backlog is then allowed to grow and change as more is learned about the product and its customers. The sprint backlog is the list of work the Development Team must address during the next sprint. This is done by the Development Team asking "Can we also do this? Conceptually, the team starts at the top of the prioritized Scrum backlog and draws a line after the lowest of the high-priority items they feel they can complete. In practice, it is not unusual to see a team select, for example, the top five items and then two items from lower on the list that are associated with the initial five.
The survey was conducted between August 9 and November 1, Sponsored by VersionOne, the survey polled 4, individuals from various channels in the software development communities. The data was analyzed and prepared into a summary report by Analysis. Net Research, an independent survey consultancy. Those who understand the real benefits of the approach — and genuinely want to make the transition — will likely have success.
Those who are searching for reasons why it will fail — well, they will likely find them and either abandon the effort entirely or end up practicing what Elisabeth Hendrickson calls fake agile. In support of this conclusion, let me leave you with some words Collected from Robert C. Martin :. No single methodology is a silver bullet , so the trick is to determine which methods work for you and tune your methodology to suit your individual needs. This is what being " Agile " is fundamentally about. Not Agile. Requirement, Estimation and Planning in agile software development projects.
Sign in Email. Forgot your password? Search within: Articles Quick Answers Messages. Agile software development methodologies and how to apply them. Monjurul Habib Rate this:. Please Sign up or sign in to vote. Introduction to Agile software development methodologies and how to apply them.
This article focus on how technology team work together well to plan, build and deliver software. Step2: Document the Design The first rule of managing software development is ruthless enforcement of documentation requirements. Step 3: Do It Twice The second most important criterion for success revolves around whether the product is totally original.
Step 4: Plan, Control, and Monitor Testing It is the phase of greatest risk in terms of dollars and schedule. Step 5: Involve the Customer It is important to involve the customer in a formal way so that he has committed himself at earlier points, before final delivery. What are all this stuff? The answer is : Agile development is not a methodology in itself. Through this work we have come to value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
Twelve principles behind the Agile Manifesto Ref: agilemanifesto. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. Lean Lean Thinking is a way of approaching system optimization focusing on reducing waste and improving the overall flow of value through a system. One is not said to "Do Lean"; rather one uses Lean principles to guide decision making and to choose techniques that will improve a system overall. For example, the practice of TDD Test-Driven Development builds integrity into software by inspecting it at the point of creation, thus supporting the Lean principle of building integrity during the creation process.
Plan In Plan Driven Development a project is successful if it goes according to plan, so in software development it depends on the requirements stability, on having clear and fixed requirements. Berard The Agile approach is to break the dependency on requirements stability and come up with a process that takes into account changes. Plan vs. People and interactions are emphasized rather than process and tools. Customers, developers and testers constantly interact with each other. Working software is delivered frequently weeks rather than months. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication.
Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design. Regular adaptation to changing circumstances. Even late changes in requirements are welcomed. Let us see what that means. Scrum Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework for managing software projects and product or application development. Scrum was first defined as "a flexible, holistic product development strategy in by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka.
In , Sutherland and Schwaber jointly presented a paper describing the Scrum methodology. First public presentation. Monjurul Habib. Software Developer Senior. A life-long-learner, maker and soft music fan. Likes building things to solve problems. Years of successful records serving mid and large scale. NET applications in domestic and international client environment. Expertise in different areas of software development life cycles and Software Architecture.
Always looks for new technology and loves to get hands dirty. Kiran Jaikar Sep Elisa McColl Aug Member Aug Member Jun Member Apr Rubol 5-Apr Navratna Pawale 2-Feb Santhakumar M Nov Tchaps Aug Dez22 Feb LawreLandry Nov Humayun Kabir Mamun Nov The sooner everyone wakes up, the better. I would say religious adherents of anything or any methodology in this case are at best brain damaged useful idiots. You would not use hammer, nor small screwdriver for everything, yet they both are very useful.
The stack consists of web services, ESB layer down to an awesome mainframe. The project is due to go live in 2 weeks and business I. First peak load test I submitted this thing to chewed up MIPS -mainframers and I agreed very quickly that this was a no-go. In the scrum meeting there were 2 key issues: 1. The performance issues only become important AFTER someone had suggested the bright idea of simply cutting the. Link to the mainframe at peak load — the upshot would be people hitting the app over and over again placing more load on the rest of the infrastructure and bring that down instead.
The problem and he solution were simple and just required the engineer and I to work together however so much time was wasted in in crisis stand ups discussing fonts …. I am sorry, but I just cannot agree with you. I have been using scrum quite successfully for several years. Many afraid to loose the reigns for fear of being associated with something that they are not sure about.
As managers of engineers in an agile world, I believe it is our jobs to empower the talent in our teams and to make sure they remain creative by giving the room to do so. Also, by doing simple steps such as defining your DoDs you can certainly tackle aspects such as technical debt.
If we do this well, we can use the data and the successes in order to plan for the near term future. You claim that defining Definition of Done will ensure no activities are compromised? The artificial sprint deadline creates a persistent pressure that is unhealthy for the product and the development team.
If the sprint is ending, then either cut scope, or let it slip. Also if doing TDD, the tests would be the first thing you write. The sprint deadline is for the team, no one else. I would leave that decision with the engineer rather than dictate it myself. Also refactoring is part of the work, not something extra. Code quality is massively important, keeping it flexible, adaptable, readable is hugely important for maintaining speed of delivery.
My experience is exactly the opposite.
Rants, essays, and diatribes.
Without question. The point being that Scrum is not a silver bullet, and neither is it evil or a destroyer of fun. It is a way of thinking about and solving problems. However, like anything else, when done poorly it will yield poor results. In other words, in some sense you get out of it what you put into it. Same teams, same people, same projects. SCRUM removed every little bit of motivation. You always got only your little piece of work, you never got an insight into the whole thing. Before, the team happliy worked together, with SCRUM, everybody just worked on his part of the project, no synergies.
Before, we even had fun working overtime, with SCRUM everybody just did his 8 hours and not a minute more. We did that for a year, then the company went out of business. SCRUM was not the only reason for that, but the final shot, which could have been avoided. Software development is and should be an interesting, and rewarding experience. Did you say fun? They just build their little piece their way. Well what if you get all of the pieces together and none of them fit together, because no-one knew what the end result was supposed to look like, or how it was supposed to work together.
Having access to the big picture and being able to collaborate and sync their ideas is a huge part of development. This is taken away when you use things like Agile, Scrum, etc. It is actually preferred, but not at the level that these processes demand. Another issue is that you have management that have no clue about development making decisions for the developers and telling the devs to just make it happen, or you are fired.
This leads to sloppy coding, and eventually leads to farming out to those coding farms in India. There is nothing about scrum or agile in general that prevents teams from seeing the big picture. This article is great and is so correct. What amazes me is the amount of people who will insist how great agile is!!!
This has led to the rampant under skilled engineers but that bite is that they think they are fantastic because agile makes everyone feel special with this consensus driven non-sense…. Typical idiocies pushed by agile : Open office plans because it helps to collaborate get real!! When will this non-sense end?
Jason, I absolutely agree with you!! Just add all this time spent in daily stand up meetings. It is supposed to be 30 min, but very often it goes over because people ask questions and often complain about something, Add up all this time and you loose from 3 to 6 hours a week!!! You think one hour and fifteen minutes a week synchronizing with your team is too much? The scrum guide very plainly states it should be time-boxed to 15 minutes. Instead, blame your scrummaster if you have one, or whomever is responsible for keeping the standups brief.
Better than blaming someone or something, work with your team to improve your stand-ups. I found that, in those meetings, image was very much more important than substance. They were all for show. It sounds like you had a very bad experience. Like with many things, success depends a lot more on the people than other single factor.
This history has exposed me to many different methodologies, all with their different niches and flaws. Never, in over 30 years did I hear such an outcry from the developer community about bad experiences with a design framework. This blog, for example, has been going for over 6 years and the discussion is as heated as ever. Waterfall, done correctly, worked. Iterative development my favorite , done correctly, worked. If you feel that way, then enlist in projects that use the waterfall methodology.
Correction First: It was not darn Americans who invented Agile. It was actually a consortium of professionals from many countries.
Second: The ability to be Agile is not something that you invent but it is something that is inherent in all of us. Third: Agile is a set of guiding principles; each one of them proven to be effective if used properly. Fourth: Software development teams do not work in Agile, instead they use a framework such as Scrum which in turn uses Agile principles — As such your comment indicates that you do not have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and I will encourage you to learn more about it before posting comments.
Finally Perhaps you did not succeed as a developer while participating in project that sought to utilize Scrum — That is not the fault of the framework but how it was not properly implemented. The very first paragraph of the blog makes it clear the author does not believe they are and his complaints are with Scum and not Agile. Scum is process on steroids and management tries to treat engineers as interchangeable cogs in that process. One that was largely invented by Scrum promoters to make their own methodology look good.
The problem is that everyone Does Immortality Wrong. A bit of politeness, education and awareness would be good for you. I can teach you somethings, for free, if you want. Some people have 20 years of experience, and some people have the same year of experience twenty times in a row. It clearly does not even occur to you that someone might have a different first language than you do. It must be a very strange experience to be so thoroughly egocentric. Scrum itself is a problem, as was well-argued in the article. People implementing cargo-cult Agile, or doing what they did before but with Agile labels rather than the old ones make the problem worse.
He said that the logical fallacies indicated that the author has more of an axe to grind than a sound argument to make. Seems fair. Any methodology is only as good as the people in charge of making it work. Anything can be corrupted if done incorrectly. Where are the numbers? You have yours, I have mine. If they prove nothing for scrum, then surely they prove nothing against it. Another won the same while practicing agile. Agile is gods gift to programming is essentially the preexisting condition whole article is addressing. The burden of proof is on the ones making the original claims that the author says there is no evidence for.
It is an easier and more realistic condition to prove. One might say the author also makes a bold claim of his own. However, it is clear that is not the case, rather, he is challenging the claims of others, and rightly so for a field that is supposed to be an applied science. Also, you explained the problem very nicely in a few short paragraphs. The OP on the other hand makes lots of subjective claims about agile that are not facts IMO — unnecessary really — if he just wants to make the point you made.
Good point. I think its good to have a range of approaches that you can use where appropriate. It means that you are saying that an idea is wrong because of who is putting it forth. Main point is very simple though: Scrum is bad because it revokes right of self-organization from talented people and instead grants it to people who has very little idea about creative work in general and engineering in particular. Where logical fallacy is? No it gives them the limited right of self-organization within the very narrow confines of scrum.
This is what the author was saying: The right of self-organization within the narrow confines of scrum results in a trending toward the low-hanging fruit, basically what little bits of code can I cherry-pick from the backlog to get my sprint points up. A self-respecting engineer would not voluntarily adopt Scrum due to the coercive effect that hit has on the engineer and the engineers ability to truly hone his craft versus honing the scrum craft which is really no craft at all but a huge amount of process, ceremony and tooling thrown on the heap.
As I remember, people with high sprint point totals were declared to the the most productive and meaningful team members. And this statistic was always a part of your annual review. Thus, the most useless were rewarded while engineers that actually tackled difficult issues were put on improvement plans. Reminded me of stories about people drowning on ships found with the heel marks of the survivors on their shoulders and the tops of their heads. To me, sprint points or story points is the most noxious part about Scrum. Scrum coaches will tell you not to use them to rate people, but tools like Jira make it easy and managers routinely use them.
The person who is the best at figuring out which stories are over-pointed is the one who will get the highest rating. Not the person who is the best or goes the extra mile and does more than what is in the ticket. When I interviewed this was one thing I asked about. If I got a sense they were using story points to rate people, that was a big red flag. In what world? How is that for agility and self-organization? I think Scrum is flawed, but using points to measure performance or preventing reassignment of tickets are not a part of Scrum. You have a control freak manager, but are here blaming Scrum for their behaviour.
The logical fallacy is you presume distrust, that an expert in an area of code will not be believed when he or she had a bright idea or perceives urgency in a significant refactoring. If you had sound reasons, you were likely to easily find allies without any fuss or raised eyebrows. Shared responsibility actually means shared responsibility. I understand that sometimes companies adopt agile-like practices where there is no trust. It is not surprising that the classic bad habits get recreated. What process theory can protect you from managers that insist on being overly controlling?
Are layers of process obfuscation really likely to be sufficient? Agile may not automatically be better under poisoned conditions, but it is not automatically worse either. How about listing a few of the fallacies? Perhaps the OP is bemoaning that there are too many cargo-cult agile environments. Maybe all his experience with agile is with cargo-cult agile environments.
Developers will do whatever cockamamy process management is foisting upon them. I always see Scrum fail when management itself refuses to embrace Scrum, which is a direct result of management failing to realize that their processes need to change. Empowering developers to be able to embrace agile software engineering practices TDD-style unit testing, pair programming, continuous improvement, yada yada would even be better, but is not really part-and-parcel of Scrum.
How hard is it do try Scrum? It looks easy. After having been in 3 different self-designated Scrum shops in the past 10 years, every one of them has ultimately succeeded-to-fail to achieve Scrum or agile. Best intentions, road to hell, yada yada. Since you are rating the solution by the hardness to apply it: Have you ever written code that needs to provide deterministic outcome, but is fed with random input data?
If so: How did that work out? Name one logical fallacy in what he said. Maybe there is lack of palpable evidence for some statements but nothing is illogical. My experience with refactoring stories is they sit in the backlog for a couple years until someone looks at it and decides to close it.
Bake it into your estimates even. Hear, hear. To do refactoring, you need to do it under cover of some user request. You need to hide it, or justify it by claiming that the code is impossible to fix otherwise. We always allocate at least 3 points per Sprint to do re-factoring. The devs decide which pieces of code are the highest priority and work their way down through the tech debt backlog Sprint over Sprint. Well, we need to differentiate: Is the refactoring a necessary task on itself e.
If the latter is true, e. The PO decides what has to be done with priority in order to satisfy customer demands. Maybe the refactoring work is not even estimatable, which makes it even harder to prioritize it. Perhaps with the help of the ScrumMaster who is supposed to clear impediments. Rendering the development team servants to functional implementations, fighting for refactoring and technical debt. This makes those executors powerless to make their situation better.
How dare you! Even factory workers are not treated like that. At every sprint devs decide how much story they can work on, so they do the estimate and they are the one who says if they can do it or not. In theory no one should say to the devs how much they can afford. One of the pillars of Scrum is transparency so the devs says to the PO how much they can produce and PO says to the client how fast they can go. The author says that scrum and agile is stressful… it is not if you apply it correctly, it is much better than using non methodology at all. Everything is clear to everyone in the scrum devs, SM, PO, Client and if everyone respect the rules of the game no stress comes up for devs or any one else.
Ok, the first problem is having a task that can be divided into smaller tasks without losing coherence and it takes more time than 1 sprint. So basically the person taking it up will have nothing to show at the end of the sprint.
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Second most of the complex stuff that needs to be written have a great variation of how much they will take. Something that seems it will take 1 day may take 1 month to complete and something that looks it would take 1 month may take a day. Third problem is that the client wants something he can see but when working on backend many times something like this is not possible for many tasks.
For instance if you build a house the foundation is not important to the client but you can have something reliable without it. So all work goes to write incomplete features full of bugs rather than building a sturdy base because you need to show the client something. And yes Agile is stressful because software devs do not work in divisions of time so small.
For a dev is often a half a day time loss. Agree with you. Therefore everyone using scrum wrongly will be perceive as a waste of time and they will be right. You could make the same comment about any methodology. I quite agree. The big common denominator is good vs. Good management will root out the evil parts of Scrum very quickly and get on with their normal business. This is because good management always converges on what works best for their specific problems. And they grab onto process thinking its a silver bullet..
I just wish I could figure out how to train folks to be good managers. I know the elements required, but few are willing to follow them.. I have been developing software for 30 years. I once worked for a manager that could actually manage rather than hinder, bully and interfere for all of 6 months.
They just get on with their work. You usually do good work in spite of the process, not because of it. Sorry, that is so not true! If you have a team producing code for any significant task, they will have to have a process in order to work together on that task. The processes might not be very heavyweight, but they will be there. That will be true for and SDLC, agile or not. I agree with this comment fully. Craig, I have the same memory from my career. I worked for a company that had a six person team of developers that created, updated and maintained a medical billing and scheduling system.
Our users and VARs sent us presents at Christmas. We were then processed and micro-managed to death with the result that we did less and did so very badly. And some of our formerly happy customers initiated lawsuits against us. Small focused teams that have a shared vision do not really need much process or management to succeed.
Same here, small focused team gobbled by larger company. We were doing our own Agile basically release vertically in the service stack for 2 years, moving along very quickly, killing 3 competitors in the process. This sounds exactly like my current situation… going to vote with my feet soon though…. I prefer writing a design from requirements and implementing in Sprints or whatever anyone wants to call it. As a programmer, I hate this Agile BS. It has to do with people less than process. Strong, good managers will find success and root out incompetence and inefficiency no matter what system they are working within.
While I agree with most of what the author says I think he throws the baby out with the bathwater and misses a key root cause. Agile was created by commercial IT folks who believed Waterfall was the problem. Commercial IT rarely uses best PM or software development best practices. This, to the authors point, makes Agile worse.
This results in no project level data for any oversight. Thereby allowing for eternal software development work based on almost zero cost, scope or schedule accountability. Having said this Waterfall can suffer from trying to know too much upfront and being boxed in by that.
Given this my suggestion is to use a hybrid. A best of both approach to mitigate the weaknesses of the other. A DSDM like with actual best practice use. It might be worth actually reading the Agile Manifesto agilemanifesto. To blame this on the creator of the Agile practices thus abused is just bizarre. Which he has said in a bunch of places are useful in some situations but which are basically an abuse of your people in most places where they are being used. I am not sure where you got the idea that this was a personal attack. It is a mystery to me why people quote him the way they do, except that he became a guru by … becoming a guru.
Waterfall is the project management of the whole AD process in a strictly linear fashion, which it has been always accepted as being only purely hypothetical, as real projects are never actually driven like that. Somewhat waterfall like design cycle is desirable, as opposed to the agile chaos, as discovering requirements later costs much more to implement instead of when requirements known early. The dumbing down of the workforce is a desired outcome by some organisations…keeping good engineers out of management…for the horrors they would discover.
Ya… among the many other things I would have to agree with in posts above, the whole problem of people winding up in management positions that clearly have no business there and no idea how to effectively manage either people OR processes is part of what gets industries into the market for things to try to fix that which could be fixed by simply using better hiring and placement practices. As a somewhat seasoned software designer I feel this pain every day now and I just want my autonomy back. Agile has managed to suck the creativity right out of design. What I do now looks something more akin to Customer Service Representative.
I ask myself every day how this came to pass and how I can get back the career I got into in the first place. For about 3 years I had the unique opportunity to pick anything we like fro Agile and do or not do. Like happy children we tried Scrum elements, and found out only a few things really work. Biggest benefit not the short planning sprint, but the result from it — a vertical release of the stack, as much as possible.
This created a space of navigable release artifacts for selection from other stakeholders: QA would binary search the assemblies to find when we introduced a degradation, Ops would pick up to upgrade a customer up to a version we ha a fix for in already, Sales would pick a version that had their thing to demo. We as devs can always go back in our stream and rerun some tweaked test. Investing in automation and comparative testing added trends and graphs of various qualities memory, CPU usage, coverage, resilience, and so on of the release artifacts dimension.
Standups, but not every day, too intrusive. With remote workers it is more of psychological, see their faces, hear their voices. We do not do guilt trips or blame games. We found departing from time-based estimation to using relative Fibonacci, helped a lot get a general idea of who thinks what regarding the size of things. If we overflow to the other sprint Kanban style , no big deal. Things usually intertwine, and the completion date moves, while the total amount of work may have stayed the same.
So with Fibonacci we would more or less get an idea whether we try to bite to many big pieces in the next weeks. Then, a large corporation purchased us, enforced formal Scrum and work stopped being fun. Enter the juniors. I have seen it be very effective and also a trainwreck. Each team needs to decide what their processes will be. Accountability goes both ways. The developers need to be able to call the business on their shit, and the business needs to be able to call developers on their shit this is what the Scrum Master should do.
Story point estimation is effective if you are willing to measure it and discuss it in retrospective. How long are you actually working on a 3 point story vs an 8 point story. We keep estimating stories using that involve Angular. Scrum processes are as iterative as development.
This is hard in large corporations but those managements issues go much higher than middle management. The finance team has the same issues. The sales team is being micromanaged. The customer service is micromanaged. If you are stuck in that situation RUN. I was at a company where the Java stories were largely finished on time, but the UI stories were not.
We had three different UI developers during the time I was there and all struggled. To make this much worse, the manager would largely base his performance reviews on the number of story points that folks accomplished. We lost two good UI people because of this. I know what the response will be.
The Scrum documentation says that people should not be rated on their story points. The fact is that managers need metrics to do their reviews and metrics are hard to find, so if they are presented with an easy metric like story points, they will use it even if it is a very poor one. People will say that this is an abuse of Scrum. I say that Scrum is easily abused. I divide my projects up so that I can come up with a minimal deliverable as often as possible. The last thing I want is a piece of code which cannot be tested end to end until months later.
All the cargo-cult stuff done in the name of Agile is like people claiming that democracy means making every single little thing in everyday life subject to a majority vote. It seems that the methodologies discussed seem to favor many coding minions doing lots of quick turn around grunt work. These minions are just translating requirements or coding processes not really thinking about systems and solving problems. I wonder where the true Programmers of the future are coming from? Makes me worry about the security of our financial and health systems.
Agile summarily eliminates best practices in software engineering, but claims to increas customer satisfaction and overall system reliability. This is especially important when Agile is used for enterprise network services, where Its not possible. Agile is a complete disaster. That was the point I left as the lead developer, after 12years of delivering market leading software. This was a high touch, top right Gartner quad product that dies because of blindly following this Agile garbage. True to Agile, it died quickly less than 36 months.
Nope if you want to be in the software business, you have two choices. Agile is evil corporations. Sorry to hear that and I feel your pain as this was pretty much my experience too. No credibility was given to the decades it took me to develop and hone my skills and knowledge. And the product headed for the toilet. OP here.
In the meanwhile I became a certified Scrum Master myself. Problem is not Scrum or Agile, its incomplete implementation. Hope it was worth it. I am not against becoming a scrum master, but preaching the scrum gospel means you sold your soul. And I loved software development too much. I too am a Certified Scrum Master scrum. He made many of the same points you have. I consider this one of the top 5 books on sofware of all time, and would recommend it to anybody.
Perhaps you might want to think about why dysfunctional management in its various forms has always been the norm, rather than exceptional, in large impersonal human groups- be they corporations or nations. I tend to agree that the core problem resides in knowing why dysfunctional management has always been the norm in large organizations.
Both points are true. As a manager I have to agree with this. I am tired on repeating other managers that the best kind of management is self-management, as they did at the Bell Labs while creating Unix. And the manager just eases the information channels to make others easier to decide themselves. The opposite is wanting to managing all by yourself.
Then you get responsable of every little problem that could happen, your mind blows up, and for sure you will get angry with the hole world because of been everyone all over you. That is how psychopaths are made! Give a healthy person that kind of work, and soon you will have a tyrant. Let people decide themselves and you can just relax a little bit, because even if you die you know that everything will continue working.
I prefer to help team members grow into independent proactive engineers. How to do this? Therefore: — Nurture independence — less scrutiny on intermediate product of team members; guide to a result, instead through a process; delegate decision power for small things down to team leads and team members; Check general progress directions. In trying to improve they look towards and try to control the measurable output, many times to the detriment of those doing the work.
Dysfunctional management is the norm because it is made within that environment itself, because a piramidal structure will always encourage focusing on reputation over in doing good work. Or doing well just for the sake of doing well. Writing a functional, elegant piece of software because it is rewarding and pleasant and professional to do so. They care far less about merit than they do about being social animals.
Agile never solved this problem nor did it intend to. So it was crushed by the social animal all the same. I could write another horror story on here about how the Agile transition was a vehicle for less qualified people to call the shots over more qualified people. Or how those unqualified people were promoted. Or how the company hit the skids. The only environment that will suffice for intellectuals and true developers out there is unbridled autonomy even at the expense of pay. I see a lot of hate for a decent programming methodology with no offer of any better path.
You hate waterfall and you hate agile. So am I to assume that anarchy is your preferred method? Waterfall is mostly a strawman. I can verify that waterfall is actually how it was done. RAD failed. I have had most success with Agile. True waterfall would mean that once the requirements were written they could never change, once design is written, it can never change, etc. Scope always changes. Requirements and design get modified or enhanced all the time. I just went through Agile Training barf. I worked for a company doing contract work for military avionics and it is in the contract.
Thou shall develop this software using waterfall methodology. What we hope to show in this book is what this transition might look like for a. NET development team. This book is for developers who want to start with the business, not a column in a table. This book assumes that you have some familiarity with the. NET framework. When it comes to the testing and mocking frameworks, this book assumes you have little familiarity. This overview includes the difference between plan-driven and value-driven development.
Starting in Chapter 4, the book provides a fictional case study about a team utilizing the concepts and ideas from the previous chapters to develop a web-based blackjack game. We'll establish the logistical fundamentals of a sprint and set the tone for the next four chapters.
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It shows how the daily stand-up, retrospective, planning, and product demo meetings work in the real world. Conventions You will notice a tremendous amount of dialog among the team members in the case study chapters. These conversations are italicized. Please note that when you try to type the code, you have to concatenate the line without any spaces. No other previous knowledge is required. Both are available for free download from www. Contacting the Authors We always welcome your questions and feedback regarding the contents of this book.
You can reach Jerrel Blankenship by e-mail at jerrel jerrelblankenship. You can contact Matthew Bussa via e-mail at matthew matthewbussa. You will learn that agile development is as much a philosophical and cultural shift as it is a set of practices and processes. You will understand why the need for an agile approach to software development has developed, the issues it helps to solve, and the reasons for its rapid rise in popularity. In this chapter you will also dive into the Agile Manifesto, the document that started the agile movement.
You will then examine the key features of agile by digging deeper into the principles and values as laid out by the manifesto and understand what they mean at a more granular level. Finally you will be introduced to a number of practices that all fall under the agile umbrella. These practices share a common goal of striving to make your development effort more flexible, adaptable, and ultimately of more value to the business.
The aim of this chapter is to provide you with the knowledge that will form the foundations on your road to becoming a master agile practitioner over the course of this book. Why the Need for Agile? This type of development was characterized by gated stages, where one would gather all the requirements the customer would need on the project, and then do an analysis of the problem.
Next, the whole application was designed before the first line of code was ever written. One of the most widely adopted methodologies associated with plan-driven development was the waterfall approach to software development. The waterfall approach uses gated stages of requirements gathering, planning, designing, development, testing, and then, eventually, deploying, as seen in Figure The waterfall process The plan-driven method, while great for industries like construction—where requirements remain fixed throughout the project, has its drawbacks when applied to an industry where requirements can change during the lifecycle of the project, as is often the case with software development.
Real-world software projects change, not every requirement can be gathered up front, things get missed, and the business is always learning and figuring out better ways to do things.
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We want the software to outlive the business requirements; not the business requirements outliving the software. Plan-driven development relies on unchanging requirements. That is to say, once they have been gathered and agreed they may not be changed. If they have to be changed, it is at a great cost to the development team as well as the customer. The notion that a business would remain static for nine to thirty-six months, which is what an average project lasts, is almost absurd.
Businesses and project stakeholders are constantly looking to improve process and innovate, and cannot jeopardize this evolution because they are waiting on a software tool to be completed. During the lifecycle of a plan- driven project, the business would find it difficult to give feedback on requirements and design documentation.
Because requirements are a gated stage in the process, many plan-driven projects would proceed without the stakeholders really understanding what was to be delivered. Many times stakeholders are uncertain about what they want. A page requirements document is not the ideal way to communicate what the new system will do. However, this was necessary to satisfy a gated stage of the plan-driven method, and development would not start until the project was through that gate.
With this gated process there is not a convenient mechanism for the development team to show their work and for the stakeholders to offer feedback on that work. Therefore, oftentimes the first opportunity that stakeholders would have to offer feedback on the project was during the QA quality assurance stage of the process, which would happen after the coding gate was completed. What this means is that a stakeholder would ask for a solution to a problem and would not see a response from the team for a year or more.
This is a black-box type of development environment. The customer sends issues in and doesn't see a possible resolution for a year or more. A plan-driven approach can only expect to deliver up to the requirements that were agreed upon at the beginning. What the business knew then has been eclipsed by what they know now, perhaps making the software redundant, or worse, obsolete. One of the biggest issues with the plan-driven process is the lack of any real return on investment to the business until the end of project, during the deployment stage.
There is no tangible benefit or value to the business during the months of design and detailed requirement documents. The business cannot just take that page requirements document and use it in their day-to-day operations. It is only when the project is finally finished that the business can expect to see any inkling of business value.
The plan-driven method makes no provision for the unknown. Hence the need for gated stages: you cannot move to the next stage until all the unknowns are known. Because of this need to remove the unknown from a project, no provision is made for altering the initial design when technical issues surface that require these changes.
A by-product of this need to remove the unknown from a project is the way estimation is handled. By removing the unknown and agreeing on the time estimates of the project, all delays that occur in the project are stacked up to the end of the project. In plan-driven development, there is no correction mechanism for estimation errors and the only buffer on this is the amount of over-estimation slack that was originally added on to the project.
It is also true that the process does not take into consideration the technical expertise of the developers who will carry out the implementation. These developers carry the responsibility for the eventual implementation of the project. The smallest coding error can have major consequences that may go unnoticed for years, so it is appropriate to think of developers as engineers who make a myriad of decisions, implement technical designs, and solve problems many times during their working day. The plan-driven method has some shortcomings that do not adequately support the needs of certain organizations.
Experiencing projects that overrun or under-deliver also highlights the weaknesses of this method. Plan-driven development only works in a situation where product managers and business stakeholders know exactly what they want, will not change their minds, are clear on priorities, and are sure that the business process does not change. We have not been able to find any examples of this mythical project, but if you happen to find yourself working on one, then please give us a call and we will be more than happy to join you!
Putting too much emphasis and time into upfront design and requirements gathering can be a risk to the business in terms of both opportunity and cost. The need for a more reliable and iterative approach, where risk is minimized, and that can give businesses maximum return on their investment, is where agile comes in. Iterative Change Software development is simply a means to an end. It enables organizations to automate, streamline, and improve their business processes to solve business problems in order to ultimately reach their goals. Frequent feedback and interaction between the development team and the stakeholders, domain experts and sponsors, means that agile projects deliver value very rapidly.
Task prioritization ensures urgent needs are satisfied first. Iterative development cycles minimize risk, and regular delivery of 9. As the software development discipline has matured, agile methods were developed as an evolution from earlier methodologies. The agile methodology is as much a philosophical shift as it is a process shift. Agile has a firm emphasis on customer satisfaction and a quick return on investment via an iterative approach to software development. Figure shows the process of an agile workflow. Figure The agile process Instead of upfront design and planning stages that strive to remove the unknown from a project before development, agile focuses on small, feature-driven iterations that strive to solve specific business problems.
These iterations include all steps of the plan-driven process and enable the business to give frequent feedback on working software in a very short time. The difference between an iteration and doing a project using the plan-driven method of software development is that each iteration is working on small chunks of the project. These chunks are what the stakeholders have designated as the highest priority requirements in the system. The ability to give working software back to the business within a short time enables the business to start working with that software and gaining value from it—even if that value is to learn that this is not what they really wanted after all.
Because agile is so closely aligned with the business, domain experts are considered first-class team members and often meet with the development teams. Unlike the relaxed start and frantic finish of the more traditional waterfall-based approach, agile promotes a more sustainable working pace. This mechanism is missing in a plan-driven project. Typically, by the third or fourth iteration the team will be producing fairly accurate estimates.
With more accurate estimates, the project manager or sponsor can get a good prediction of the time required to complete the whole system. Agile is very much like a business, where it is always focusing on improvement of the process by learning and refining its processes. Constant feedback loops from business and development stakeholders help to hone these skills and processes, enabling more efficient delivery of valuable software.
Defining Agile This section will provide you with a clear definition of the agile development process and some of the key features it encompasses. The Agile Manifesto In the s there were several people in our profession who were talking about changing the way we wrote software. What came of this meeting became known as the Agile Manifesto see Figure Key Features of Agile Looking through the Agile Manifesto and, in particular, the twelve principles, we can identify some key features that define the process and mindset.
Agility comes about by embracing change, and learning from and with the business. With this in mind agile defines the ability to adapt and be flexible, to embrace change rather than resist it or sit around and moan that the goalposts have moved. Agile teams embrace change and actively identify changes in applications that will increase business value. There are a number of techniques that you will be introduced to in this book that will help you become a more agile developer.
However, becoming truly agile is so much more than the sum of its parts. The tools, project methodologies, and programming methods can certainly go some way to help one become agile, but it is the ability to apply these techniques to an ever-changing business that will truly reap the rewards.
Fundamentally you must understand the business domain you are working within and align your efforts, practices, and process to realize its value. Success of software development is not measured in the amount of design work. Businesses measure success in working software; this should be your measure of progress as well.
In order to do this it is vital that we work closely with the domain experts themselves, that is, the people that will use the software. They have experience using the existing process, but do not necessarily understand why it is that way. That is where the domain experts come in. The more you as a developer understand about the business you are writing software for, the better the software will be. Create the documentation when it is needed. You should be able to cope with a few architectural diagrams that any member of the team can reproduce on a white board. Instead of masses of requirements documentation, use story or tasks cards and write features that can act as reminders for conversations when it is time to build the feature.
Lots of upfront documentation is no good to the business— there is simply no value in it. The amount of documentation that is produced in an agile project is defined as a requirement. It is not true that agile equals no documentation.
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Agile equals the removal of useless information. The code and the user stories with their corresponding acceptance criteria become the documentation of the project. Not a page, stagnant requirements document. Continuously refining how we work and concentrating on the work at hand will contribute towards a leaner and more effective working practice. Domain experts, product managers, business analysts, security and IT infrastructure stakeholders, and testers should be first-class citizens along with developers during the project. The problem that occurs has to do with changing the people around you.
That being said, an agile project methodology can be very valuable to any organization with a need to be flexible when prioritizing application development. The Flavors of Agile There are various forms of agile methodologies, but they all share similar characteristics. You can think of these various methodologies as branches of the same religion.
The cornerstone of each branch is the idea of customer satisfaction. They also feature many of the key ideas listed previously, as well as the practices and principles laid out in the Agile Manifesto. The key thing to remember about all the agile flavors is that every one of them is iterative. A product owner, with help from the customer, prioritizes the product backlog and works closely with the team via regular stand-up meetings and sprint retrospectives. The iterative aspect of Scrum is that this cycle is repeated over and over until the project is complete.
You will look at Scrum in more detail in Chapter 2. Planning Game 2. Small Releases 3. Customer Acceptance Tests 4. Simple Design 5. Pair Programming 6. Test-Driven Development 7. Refactoring 8. Continuous Integration 9. Collective Code Ownership Coding Standards Metaphor Sustainable Pace In XP, user stories are created to capture requirements from customers.
These stories are then estimated by the developers, prioritized by the customer, and then developed into working software on an iteration-by-iteration basis. Continuous planning and delivery underpin the disciplined XP process. It is also worth noting that many of the practices in XP are shared by other branches of agile, like Scrum. You will take a closer look at XP in Chapter 3. Crystal The Crystal group of agile methodologies focuses more on people rather than process. It has a simple set of principles that enhances teamwork by concentrating on communication and the removal of project management noise.
It also concentrates teams on the priorities and critical paths of the software development. Like Scrum and XP, it also encourages frequent delivery of working software. With this in mind, only work that is deemed critical for the system to operate is prioritized; that is, the first 20 percent of requirements.
Once this is completed, an iterative process of feature design and implementation begins. Features represent a useful grouping of functionality to the customer. FDD is made up of the following five simple activities: 1. Develop the Domain Object Model 2. Create a feature list 3. Plan by feature 4. Design by feature 5. Build by feature Lean Software Development Lean software development comes from the Lean manufacturing principles that were derived mostly from the production system created by Toyota. Lean focuses on customer value and the elimination of waste.
It achieves this by following these next seven principles: 1. Eliminate waste: Selects only the most valuable features for a customer. Amplify learning: Learn by doing and testing things rather than documenting. Decide as late as possible: Delay decisions in order to enable more facts to be gathered and changes to take place. Deliver as fast as possible: The sooner software is delivered, the sooner feedback is received and incorporated into the next release, giving fast return on investment to the business. Empower the team: Make the team responsible and increase motivation by including all members in the decision-making process.
Build integrity in: Re-factor regularly to keep code flexible and adaptable to change. See the whole: Ensure that domain knowledge is spread throughout the team in order for problems to be identified at any level of the system. Throughout this book we will be using the more popular agile methodologies, Scrum and XP, to show you what it means to be agile. You first read about the failings of the traditional plan-driven approach to software development. A new process that could react and embrace changes while working alongside the business and treating its people as first-class team members was badly needed to deliver real business value on investment.
With a firm knowledge of why we needed value-driven development you then examined the characteristics of agile by looking at the Agile Manifesto. The agile methodologies you will follow in the remainder of this book are Scrum and XP, although many of the concepts in this book can be applied to the other methodologies.
In the next chapter you will look at the Scrum process in more detail, as this will be the project methodology that you will follow for the case study that forms the second part of this book. You will be introduced to the iterative nature of Scrum, which defines a process skeleton containing a set of roles, activities, and artifacts, all focused on supporting a team committed to delivering a product.
The case study that features in Part Two of this book follows the Scrum methodology, so you will get to see a practical implementation of all of the key characteristics of Scrum as discussed in this chapter, which will help to cement the process and benefits of the methodology. What Is Scrum? Scrum is an iterative approach to software development tightly aligned with agile principles and the Agile Manifesto. Scrum is made up of a series of time blocks called sprints, which focus on delivering working software. A sprint is typically two to four weeks in length and is defined by a goal or theme that helps to clarify the objective of the sprint.
Sprints are isolated from change, allowing the team to focus on delivering working software without distraction. Scrum focuses on helping the people committed to develop the project deliver that project.
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Work is prioritized from a product backlog that is managed by a product owner. Before each sprint occurs, a feature from the product backlog is chosen and the team commits to deliver it by the end of the sprint. To keep things running smoothly, a ScrumMaster is appointed to ensure there are no obstacles impeding the team from delivering the features that the team committed to. Daily stand-up meetings help the team communicate about any issues preventing them from delivering.
Retrospectives at the end of each sprint help to improve process. Figure shows a graphical representation of the Scrum methodology, including all of the roles, activities, and artifacts that you will read in more detail in the following sections of this chapter. The Scrum process The consistent sprint duration combined with the team being time boxed to work on features that cannot be changed in that time frame, as well as short meetings and regular retrospectives, improve development practice by generating a development rhythm.
This rhythm enables the team to concentrate on designing and developing high-quality software. Plan-Driven vs. Value-Driven Methods When looking at the differences between the Waterfall method and the Agile method you need to look at the core behind each method. One method is driven by the plan that was created at the beginning of the project and the other method is driven by the value that you give the customer.
Waterfall Method Plan Driven The waterfall method can be thought of as a plan-driven method of software development. In the past, this method of development was used by many—not because it was the best way to develop software, but because it was the only method known. A project that used the waterfall method involved a large amount of risk, mainly because everything was done at the beginning of the project.
All the requirements gathering, and discovery and scope definition was completed before the first line of code was ever written. Customers had to know up front everything that they needed or wanted the system to do. At times customers did not know exactly what they wanted, but yet, they had to define every last detail of their needs; and once they defined the details, they could not change them—even if they later realized that their needs had changed. This approach destined the project for failure before it even began.
The entire process led to problems that were hidden until toward the end of a project, simply because the customer had not considered every little detail, and there was no way make changes as the need arose. Sometimes it was too expensive to make a change. You could not jump through one hoop until you had jumped through the previous hoop, and once you were through a hoop it was near impossible to go back to a previous hoop if the need arose.
There was no allowance to do a little bit of everything and then pause to make sure you were still on the right path. This led to many development teams being behind on their projects. When teams got behind on a project, they would just throw more bodies at the project, with the hope that the more people on the project, the faster it would get done.
That rarely happened. Most of the time the project would remain behind schedule, so the team had to cut the scope, cut testing, or both. Scrum Method Value Driven Scrum is considered a value-driven method for software development. Scrum is a dramatic change over the waterfall method for a number of reasons. Instead of first gathering all the requirements needed for every feature of the project, completing all the designs based on these requirements, and then coding the application based upon these up-front designs, Scrum looks at doing iterative, incremental development.
Scrum is all about taking small passes at a problem and reassessing that problem after each pass. Each sprint can be looked at as a mini waterfall project. This is because in every sprint you are doing everything you would normally do in a waterfall project, except you are doing it on a smaller scale. In each sprint, you take a feature and you gather requirements on that feature, you design that feature based on those requirements, and you code and test that feature based on those designs.
In Scrum, unlike waterfall, you are not trying to do everything up front; you are doing everything you need to do when you need to do it.