Researching Agile Software Development (part 2)

From Dwayne Wright - www.dwaynewright.com

Well, I thought it would be time again to dig into the PowerPoint presentation on Agile development from the FileMaker Developers Conference. In my last discussion, I made it all the way to the fourth slide before posting my first round of content. I think I’m going to make it to slide six now. (paragraph edit here) Well, I didn’t make it that far. I had accidentally skipped the fifth slide, went back to it and never moved passed it.


So my next discussion will be about slide six as it pertains to a white paper that IT Solutions published at http://www.fmagilefiles.com/Agile_Development_and_FileMaker.pdf .

So back to our regularly scheduled program, already in process. Slide five carries over what you find on the index page of www.agilemanifesto.org.

- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan

I have to say that I’m not entirely clear on what this means but here are my impressions at the moment. This is without any digging into what they say it means but my “blink” impressions.

About Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
I’m sure this doesn’t advocate the abandonment of processes and tools. However I have seen places where the appearance of a new tool (or new FMPro feature) alters processes, individuals and interactions. Sometimes it is for the better, sometimes it’s for the worse and sometimes is just a lateral change. I would assume that this might be saying the process is centered around the individual and interactions.

About Working software over comprehensive documentation
Well, that isn’t a problem for most FileMaker developers I know because they don’t do a lick of documentation. I have found that comprehensive documentation should be done organically during a project based upon it’s phase. Towards the end, end user documentation can be a great way to check for errors, bugs or process management.

About Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Yeah, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid over this one. I joked in our last staff meeting about discovering a new client interaction tool. It’s a device that has a series of buttons upon it that correspond to a numerical system. When these buttons are pushed in a particular order, a direct audio communication method can be established with a client. The device is called a telephone and I’m finding it has some distinct advantages over email. Seriously, I think this is great but should be done from a foundation layer. If you design a process around this and sell the client on it first, I think the rewards could be great for everyone involved.


About Responding to change over following a plan

Yeah, I’m NOT drinking the Kool-Aid on this one just yet. I’ve been working on a project for over two years for a client. I’ve been unsuccessful in steering them towards any kind of detailed plan or even centralized project management. I’ve done everything short of taking hostages but I’m unable to bring that element of the project home. So I’ve been responding to bits and pieces of project needs. I’ve done my best in this area, trying to make the client and my boss happy. Databases under these sorts of conditions are extremely challenged towards long term success. So perhaps I’ll learn perspective from researching this element of Agile development more closely.
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© 2007 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

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