Introduction from the conventional plan driven approach because

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Last updated: March 22, 2019

 IntroductionChanging business trends,changing business disciplines create a direct impact on the softwaredevelopment process because all businesses use these software.

What is requiredfrom the software developers is to accommodate these changes in the systembeing developed so that they are compliant to the changing scenario aroundthem. This flexibility to accommodate changes in the software developmentprocess is what  as simple as the plan ofAgile is. The software development life cycle in Agile comprises of severaliterations lasting over few weeks. Each iteration comprises of building a partof the system . At the end of each sprint, working code is delivered to thecustomer and any changes to be introduced are finalized now and are ready to beadded in any of the subsequent sprints. Agile process is different from theconventional plan driven approach because of the following principles which isthe called as 14 Agile Manifesto.

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Theagile manifesto clearly points out- ·      Individuals andinteractionsover processes and tools – ·      Working software over comprehensivedocumentation –24·      Customer collaboration over contract negotiation ·      Responding to change over following a plan5All these values helps usunderstand the high level picture of Agile -how an Agile system reduces processoverheads and documentation  focuses onincremental software delivery , involves Customer collaboration in developmentphase and  is flexible to embrace changein the current requirements.AgileProcess-Key Points 2 After each iteration, the team meetsfor a retrospective meeting wherein the development team demonstrates theworking code. It is quite common for a team to have some unfinished work at theend of each sprint/iteration. There could be a variety of reasons for the same.What follows this , is the analysis of the cause of delay and based on thepriority of the impending task it’s moved to subsequent product backlogs. Onething to notice here is that it all depends on the effectiveness of the people aimingto remove the impediments and deficiencies in the software as well as welcomethe change in the system requirements, if any from the customer’s side. Theirprime focus should be to invent simple solutions so that if changes are to bemade anytime later, it is easy to make them. This requires the skill andknowledge of technically sound individuals who are able to provide innovativeand simple solutions .

4With earlier stages eliminated, Agile developers nowhave more time to concentrate on the development activities. It is true thatAgile teams are self organized, but this doesn’t mean that they are leaderless .Teammembers should be ready to exchange their roles in the team (team reorganization)based on their expertise with respect to the matter in focus.

This is whatthey say as-3Agility is possible onlythrough greater discipline on the part of everyone involved.Individualcompetence versus team competence1Agile teams clearly focuson both individuals and interaction over process and tools, so it will not bewrong to say that Agilest value both individual and team competence. Agileprocesses require more skilled and competent workforce .They should be ableaccomplish any task at their hand even if the requirements or process changeover time.

Competent individual  possessgreater problem solving skill and are an  asset to the team and organization they workfor. They fit in to model of self-organized and self-motivated individuals very aptly and set an example for others. As quoted byCockburn1-“Agile processes are designed to capitalize on each individualand each team’s unique strengths”. If there is flaw or vagary in the process, it can be easily overcome bya competent staff however lack of competency cannot overcome the shortcomingsof a process.

It is owing to this reason that all the agile process-XP,Scrum,  Adaptive Software Development,Crystal methods or DSDM all emphasize on people, their talent , skill andknowledge. However, it is also true that individual competence plus goodcommunication and interaction is what makes a good team-a competent team andthis is better than a competent individual  because it makes the process and systemdependable and reliable.1Such team models self organization, intensecollaboration, mutual trust and respect and possess good decision making andproblem solving abilities.

For instance if fewindividuals in a team come up with a simple innovative solution to a problem thatincludes changing to a new technology that would produce the same results in lessertime  .This demonstrates individual competence.Now if the  proposed solution is approvedafter analysis by the other team members and upper management, sets an example ofteam competence. Team competence greatly dependson communication and collaboration. During each sprint, all teammembers, the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, stakeholders and most importantlythe customers collaborate to work towards achieving the best solution for thegoal5. Talking about communication, all agile process are based oncommunication because it involves less documentation and more face-to-facecommunication  in the form of daily scrummeeting that helps team members get prompt and real time answers to theirquestion .

This also increases amicability between individuals as more is sharedand less is concealed.Micromanagementin AgileAs there are severaliterations and each iteration includes daily scrum meeting wherein team meetsdaily, some team members particularly developers and testers4 might find thisas a form of micromanagement if they have to answer on daily basis to theirmanagers about the impending work. In the absence of process and projectmanagement activities, the managers could be mistaken in assessing thesituation and could complain about backlogs. Having worked in both Agile andWaterfall setup I personally feel that, it is due to absence of a proper, wellformulated progress tracking mechanism like a Gantt chart  and other documents that is widely used in industry explaining the workbreakdown, deadlines which are not explicitly mentioned in the burndown chartsthat may cause the leaders to micro manage.Phasesin AgileIt is not possible tobelieve that there is no planning in Agile .How can any process execute withoutprior planning? The Agile process starts with identifying objective goals,identifying possible user stories and getting a gross estimate of the time ,cost and effort associated with the project.

This estimate of the cost helps intaking further decisions like  decidingover hardware ,software requirements and architecture. Requirement definitionthough not detailed, but also occurs in Agile. It is important in assessing thevalue of software being developed. Design and development are integrated phasesin Agile process while testing and development go hand in hand. Since there isno detailed documentation like Use Cases, UML,DFDs, it is in the hands ofdevelopers to decide upon the framework of the system. Testers work closelywith the developers and test the code being developed during each iteration.

Usually testers contribute to Unit testing in Agile which involves running unittest suite using Automation tools.ConclusionThis report is an attemptto understand and analyze Agile processes in depth. With the extensivepopularity of Agile, it is clear that many favor it for the promptness ingetting real time results, however not all models of Agile have been assuccessful as the Scrum. Also owing to the lack of documentation, it is notused by large scale organization and organizations developing criticalsoftware. However, due to it’s simplicity and innovative approach, many largescale organizations are now going Semi-Agile following combination of bothAgile and plan driven practices.

 References1 Cockburn, A. and Highsmith, J. “Agile softwaredevelopment, the people factor”, Computer 34(2001) 131—1332 Highsmith, J.

and Cockburn,A. “Agile software development: The business of innovation”, Computer34(2001) 120-1223 Beck, K. ; Boehm, B. “Agilitythrough discipline:  a debate” Computer,June 2003, Vol.

36(6), pp.44-464 Cohn, M. ; Ford, D.”Introducing an Agile Process to an Organization “,Computer, June 2003,Vol.36(6), pp.74-785 Williams, L.

; Cockburn,A.” Agile software development: It’s about feedback and change “,Computer, June 2003, Vol.36(6), pp.39-43            Agile Software DevelopmentBy Tejasi Palkar  IntroductionChanging business trends,changing business disciplines create a direct impact on the softwaredevelopment process because all businesses use these software. What is requiredfrom the software developers is to accommodate these changes in the systembeing developed so that they are compliant to the changing scenario aroundthem.

This flexibility to accommodate changes in the software developmentprocess is what  as simple as the plan ofAgile is. The software development life cycle in Agile comprises of severaliterations lasting over few weeks. Each iteration comprises of building a partof the system .

At the end of each sprint, working code is delivered to thecustomer and any changes to be introduced are finalized now and are ready to beadded in any of the subsequent sprints. Agile process is different from theconventional plan driven approach because of the following principles which isthe called as 14 Agile Manifesto. Theagile manifesto clearly points out- ·      Individuals andinteractionsover processes and tools – ·      Working software over comprehensivedocumentation –24·      Customer collaboration over contract negotiation ·      Responding to change over following a plan5All these values helps usunderstand the high level picture of Agile -how an Agile system reduces processoverheads and documentation  focuses onincremental software delivery , involves Customer collaboration in developmentphase and  is flexible to embrace changein the current requirements.AgileProcess-Key Points 2 After each iteration, the team meetsfor a retrospective meeting wherein the development team demonstrates theworking code. It is quite common for a team to have some unfinished work at theend of each sprint/iteration. There could be a variety of reasons for the same.What follows this , is the analysis of the cause of delay and based on thepriority of the impending task it’s moved to subsequent product backlogs. Onething to notice here is that it all depends on the effectiveness of the people aimingto remove the impediments and deficiencies in the software as well as welcomethe change in the system requirements, if any from the customer’s side.

Theirprime focus should be to invent simple solutions so that if changes are to bemade anytime later, it is easy to make them. This requires the skill andknowledge of technically sound individuals who are able to provide innovativeand simple solutions . 4With earlier stages eliminated, Agile developers nowhave more time to concentrate on the development activities. It is true thatAgile teams are self organized, but this doesn’t mean that they do not haveleadrers .Team members should be ready to exchange their roles in the team(team reorganization )based on their expertise with respect to the matter infocus. This is what  say as Kent says-3Agility is possible only through greaterdiscipline on the part of everyone involved.Individualcompetence versus team competence1Agile teams clearly focuson both individuals and interaction over process and tools, so it will not bewrong to say that Agilest value both individual and team competence.

Agileprocesses require more skilled and competent workforce .They should be ableaccomplish any task at their hand even if the requirements or process changeover time. Competent individual  possessgreater problem solving skilsl and are an  asset to the team and organization they workfor. They fit in to model of self-organized and self-motivated individuals very aptly and set an example for others. As quoted byCockburn1-“Agile processes are designed to capitalize on each individualand each team’s unique strengths”.

 If there is flaw or vagary in the process, it can be easily overcome bya competent staff however lack of competency cannot overcome the shortcomingsof a process. It is owing to this reason that all the agile process-XP,Scrum,  Adaptive Software Development,Crystal methods or DSDM all emphasize on people, their talent , skill andknowledge. However, it is also true that individual competence plus goodcommunication and interaction is what makes a good team-a competent team andthis is better than a competent individual  because it makes the process and systemdependable and reliable.1Such team models self organization, intensecollaboration, mutual trust and respect and possess good decision making andproblem solving abilities. For instance if fewindividuals in a team come up with a simple innovative solution to a problemthat includes changing to a new technology that would produce the same resultsin lesser time  .This demonstratesindividual competence. Now if the proposed solution is approved after analysis by the other team membersand upper management, sets an example of team competence.

Team competence greatlydepends on communication and collaboration. During each sprint,all team members, the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, stakeholders and mostimportantly the customers collaborate to work towards achieving the bestsolution for the goal5. Talking about communication, all agile process arebased on communication because it involves less documentation and moreface-to-face communication  in the formof daily scrum meeting that helps team members get prompt and real time answersto their question .This also increases amicability between individuals as moreis shared and less is concealed.Micromanagementin AgileAs there are severaliterations and each iteration includes daily scrum meeting wherein team meetsdaily, some team members particularly developers and testers4 might find thisas a form of micromanagement if they have to answer on daily basis to theirmanagers about the impending work. In the absence of process and projectmanagement activities, the managers could be mistaken in assessing thesituation and could complain about backlogs. Having worked in both Agile andWaterfall setup I personally feel that, it is due to absence of a proper, wellformulated progress tracking mechanism like a Gantt chart  and other documents that is widely used in industry explaining the workbreakdown, deadlines which are not explicitly mentioned in the burndown chartsthat may cause the leaders to micro manage.

Phasesin AgileIt is not possible tobelieve that there is no planning in Agile .How can any process execute withoutprior planning? The Agile process starts with identifying objective goals,identifying possible user stories and getting a gross estimate of the time ,cost and effort associated with the project. This estimate of the cost helps intaking further decisions like  decidingover hardware ,software requirements and architecture.

Requirement definitionthough not detailed, but also occurs in Agile. It is important in assessing thevalue of software being developed. Design and development are integrated phasesin Agile process while testing and development go hand in hand. Since there isno detailed documentation like Use Cases, UML,DFDs, it is in the hands ofdevelopers to decide upon the framework of the system.

Testers work closelywith the developers and test the code being developed during each iteration.Usually testers contribute to Unit testing in Agile which involves running unittest suite using Automation tools.ConclusionThis report is an attemptto understand and analyze Agile processes in depth. With the extensivepopularity of Agile, it is clear that many favor it for the promptness ingetting real time results, however not all models of Agile have been assuccessful as the Scrum. Also owing to the lack of documentation, it is notused by large scale organization and organizations developing criticalsoftware.

However, due to it’s simplicity and innovative approach, many largescale organizations are now going Semi-Agile following combination of bothAgile and plan driven practices.  References1 Cockburn, A. and Highsmith, J.

“Agile softwaredevelopment, the people factor”, Computer 34(2001) 131—1332 Highsmith, J. and Cockburn,A. “Agile software development: The business of innovation”, Computer34(2001) 120-1223 Beck, K. ; Boehm, B.

“Agilitythrough discipline:  a debate” Computer,June 2003, Vol.36(6), pp.44-464 Cohn, M. ; Ford, D.

“Introducing an Agile Process to an Organization “,Computer, June 2003,Vol.36(6), pp.74-785 Williams, L. ; Cockburn,A.” Agile software development: It’s about feedback and change “,Computer, June 2003, Vol.36(6), pp.39-43                    

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