Archive for January, 2010

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The Bite of Agile Dogma

January 22, 2010

An often heard complaint about heavily plan-driven development approaches is that they are too heavy, too rigid. This criticism is not unjustified. However, we need to be careful. There is a non-trivial number of “agilists” who are sounding like the waterfall autocrats of the past. You hear them passing judgment that you are not “really” doing agile because you are not adhering to the letter of the agile law as prescribed in some revered agile tome. You’re not doing continuous integration? All you people are not certified? You’re creating some documentation? Well then you’re not agile.

This is unfortunate as these folks are missing one of the greatest value of agile (or other lightweight) techniques – – they can be easily blended together, even with more traditional approaches, to give you an effective, customized process that will work well in your particular development culture. Your approach, however agile it is, must work in your specific environment and support the way your teams work.

Chuck Cobb writes a good article on this topic. Take a look.

–Bob Maksimchuk ( http://www.projectpragmatics.com)

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Are We Agile Yet? Are We Agile Yet?

January 18, 2010

That question is not nearly as irritating as “Are we there yet?” being chanted ceaselessly from the backseat on a long summer road trip.  But I have heard it asked in many development shops who are trying to “become agile”.  The question is somewhat puzzling.  What is the real intent of their question?  Are they looking for a blessing “Yea, thou art agile.  Now go forth and Scrum.”?  Is “agile” a badge they are looking to wear?  If so, they are missing the point.  They need to ask a better question.

 Agile is more about the journey than a specific destination.  You should maintain awareness of how well the journey is going instead of how long you’ve been traveling.  How can we explain this, in a simple manner … Read More

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Rarely Mentioned Architect Skills – Do You Have Them?

January 12, 2010

The development community spends so much time debating ceaseless questions such as “What is architecture?” and “What is the difference between this and that type of architect?” We should look behind the labels.  Looking at the type of skills an architect has or needs may give real insight as to what type of architect he/she is. 

Take a look at Peter Cripps’ blog on the Attributes of an IT Architect.  Peter lists a number of non-technical skills that are rarely ever mentioned as skills an architect needs.  My particular favorite is #5 Apply Processes Pragmatically

Aside from Peter’s list and the long list of hard technical skills that could be mentioned, what other skills have you found are critical in the role of an Architect? 

–Bob Maksimchuk (www.ProjectPragmatics.com )

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SOA by the Numbers

January 4, 2010

SOA has not ended hunger or achieved world peace (some of the early marketing came close to promising everything) but it has achieved major inroads in software / systems development.  However, its level of “success” still appears to be a bit muddled. 

Loraine Lawson recently posted a pragmatic look (at ITBusinessEdge.com 29 Dec 2009) at statistics gathered in a Forrester report regarding companies’ satisfaction level with their SOA initiatives.

One of the most interesting statistics is that only 24% of the companies surveyed have (or are working on) an enterprise-level SOA strategy.  Hopefully, this is not indicative of the lingering mindset that SOA = web services.  SOA is really a strategic architectural approach to aligning business and IT (and seeing that the report reflects this is quite satisfying).  To achieve that in its fullest requires quite an investment in not only technology (e.g. an altered development process, modeling, choreography, architecture, reuse, business activity monitoring, business process management, re-skilling and so forth) but may also require organizational change – always a difficult adjustment.  This level of commitment is difficult for all but the largest organizations and even then it is a true challenge.

So follow the above link and enjoy Ms. Lawson’s article and the report.

–Bob Maksimchuk (www.ProjectPragmatics.com )