Welcome!

Apache Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Christopher Harrold, Janakiram MSV

Related Topics: Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Machine Learning , Apache

Java IoT: Blog Feed Post

Four Tests to Determine If You Are Following Agile Development

Do you necessarily have to have a small, co-located, cross-functional team to be able to claim that your process is indeed agile

Am I the only person who thinks that we need a clear, well understood and unambiguous determine if the development process that you are following can be classified as Agile development process?

Do you necessarily have to have a small, co-located, cross-functional team to be able to claim that your process is indeed agile? If you go by what agile thought leaders are saying then “small”, “co-located” and “cross-functional” is no longer considered a necessary condition for classifying a process as agile.

Agile 1.1Indeed, the answer to the following questions is no longer an outright no.

  • Can agile process scale to a large team size?
  • Can distributed project team claim to be using agile development?
  • Can off-shored projects work on agile mode?
  • Can agile development co-exist with CMMi?

Obviously, to be able to answer “yes” to these question we would need to come up with a process which different from what you would have followed for a ”small”, “co-located” and “cross-functional” team. Now, how would you determine if this modified process can indeed be classified as a agile development process?

Without suitable tests the discussion would boil down to your opinion pitted against mine.

Can agile projects fail?

Without such a test you can always argue that the project failed because the process chosen was not really an agile development process and that is why the project failed.

Without suitable tests there is no way to counter such an argument.

I prefer “A” over “B” but “B” is also important

I am not criticizing the agile manifesto. It is brilliantly piece of articulation … it conveys, without being explicit, how agile processes are different from the “heavy weight” processes prevailing in 2001.

However, it does not help us in determining when a process can be classified as agile and when it ceases to be agile.

Minimum common denominator

Is it possible to take the popular agile development processes like Scrum, XP and TDD and find out what is common the minimum common denominator and use that as a test?

There are 2 problem to this approach:

  1. Which methodologies would you choose?
  2. Would you find significant commonality?

Selecting list of mandatory practices

There is a growing list of practices which are classified as agile practice – daily stand-up meeting, continuous integration, pair programming … the list is quiet large.

Is it possible to choose from the list a set of mandatory practices – a necessary condition for a process to be considered as agile development process?

Again, there are 2 problems:

  1. Coming to a consensus on what is mandatory practice is a difficult task
  2. What happens when an new and better practice emerges as a substitute for one of the selected practice?

Four Tests to determine if you are following an Agile process

Test 1: Software is developed in iteration regularly delivering working code

I think this test is beyond any debate! Nobody … nobody would claim a process to be agile without an iterative approach. Iteration without working code is meaningless. Working code also implies continuous testing.

Similarly, iteration without feedback is again meaningless. So, regular feedback from users is mandatory.

But beyond that there are many variants to iterative approach.

  • Should your iterations be of fixed interval?
  • Do you need to have a process of continuous integration?
  • Is it necessary to have an automated regression test suite?
  • Should you focus on always having a potentially shippable product?

These are all good practices, very important in certain situations, but not necessarily applicable in all situation.

Test 2: Never say no to change because it is not there in the plan or because it involves rework

Indeed, there can be many valid reasons why you may have to say no to change.

  • The impact of the change may be very significant, involving huge amount of extra work disrupting other planned features.
  • The value of the change may not sufficient to justify the effort to incorporate the change.
  • The change may be inconsistent with the way the rest of the software is expected to work.

There can be many other reasons for not accepting the change or deferring the change for later.

But, refusing a change because it is not there in the plan or because you have to discard parts of code which you have already done is not an acceptable reason in any process that claims to be an agile process.

Test 3: Accept that everything cannot be explicitly specified

Typical traditional process would work as follows:

  • A requirement analysis would be done and a software requirement specification document would be prepared
  • User will go through it and approve it
  • The software would be built and tested according to what is written in the document
  • User will try the software and claim that several important features are missing
  • Development team will claim that they have not been specified
  • User will claim that they are obvious

This approach is unacceptable in any agile process.

It is not that documentation is not important. What is unacceptable is to insisting that everything has to be explicitly documented.

It is like Japanese approach to communication. In western culture when A communicates something to B and B has not properly understood it then A is to be blamed because he did not check if the understanding is correct. In Japanese culture, the blame in on B because B did not ensure that his understanding is correct.

Test 4: You follow only those processes which you have found it to be of value under the given circumstances

If you have gone through an exercise of spring cleaning you would realize that how every object you pick somehow looks useful and you do not want to throw it.

Same thing happens when you are given a super-set of practices and asked to choose what you should follow. This is the approach followed by all heavyweight processes including RUP. Every practice in isolation would look useful.

So, any process which claims to be agile start with bare minimum practices and allows the project team to choose practices which will add real value in the given circumstances. It also has mechanism of having a regular introspection which allows discarding practices which has not proved its worth.

In Lean parlance it is called maximizing the work not done.

What do you think?

  • Are these tests have any value?
  • Are they relevant?
  • Have I missed out any important dimension of agile?

I am eagerly waiting for you feedback.

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
Google

@ThingsExpo Stories
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...