Click here to close now.


Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, PagerDuty Blog, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Java IoT, Microservices Expo, IoT User Interface

Java IoT: Article

What Makes Agile Agile?

What qualifies a methodology as agile?

Silly question – or is it? How do you judge if a methodology can be classified as agile methodology? Can Iterative or Spiral development methodology be classified as agile? What about Six Sigma or Lean process? On what basis will decide will you decide? If you go by the Forrester classification, Iterative or Spiral development methodology is not agile where as Six Sigma and Lean is agile.

In the survey report Agile Development Management Tools, Q2 2010, Forrester classifies Scrum, Agile Modeling, Feature-Driven Development, Test-Driven Development, eXtreme Programming, Lean Development, Microsoft Solution Framework for Agile, Agile Data Methods, Adaptive Software Development, Six Sigma, Crystal, Behavior-Driven Development and Dynamic System Development Methodology under agile methodology but classifies Rational Unified Process, Iterative Development or Spiral under Iterative Development.

Is there any accepted definition for agile methodology which can help us determine if specific methodology can be classified as agile? I have looked and have not found any.

Can we fall back on the agile manifesto or the 12 principles behind the agile manifesto? If you study them carefully you will realize that they are more of an aspirational statement rather than specific guideline which can be used to evaluate a methodology.

For example, take the first statement in the manifesto – “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. Does is mean – don’t bother with tools and processes? Is it feasible in today’s fast passed, complex world? It is like the statement from John Zachman – You can run an enterprise with pencils, paper and file cabinets – reality in the past; unthinkable today.

Similarly, have a look at the 5th principle – “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.” Does it mean – don’t bother with process? If there are multiple agile projects going on in an organization then can each team chose to follow a different agile methodology?

For that matter, 4th and 6th principles state – “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project” and “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation”. This will mean physically collocating business people and developers. In the current globalized and virtually networked world, I wonder how this is feasible.

What we need to do is to take a couple of step backward and try to extract the essence and formulate clear yardsticks which can be used to qualify any methodology and agile or non-agile. I suspect that most of us know intuitively what those yardsticks are but it will still be good to have it in black and white.

Essence of Agile – two dimension
Before we can formulate the yardsticks let us understand the spirit behind the manifesto.

Change is inevitable because …

  • …software cannot be unambiguously and completely specified through a document or a model
  • …people don’t know and cannot completely visualize what the software should be till they play with it
  • …communication is never perfect and correction through feedback loop is essential
  • …environment around us is never static and useful software needs to evolve to match the revised requirement

Thus, any methodology to qualify as an agile methodology needs to have specific recommendation on “how to effectively manage short iterations”. As a corollary, any methodology which tries to lay down standards on how to “unambiguously and completely” specify different aspects of the software cannot be considered as agile.

Individuals create software and better software is produced …

  • …by motivated individuals
  • …through regular interaction among individuals
  • …when individuals working together figure out how to be more effective
  • …where the environment has minimum roadblocks and illogical restrictions

Therefore, “how to help individuals to work together” is the second dimension that an agile methodology needs to address.

Yardstick of evaluation – two positive and one negative questions to ask

(+ve) What recommendations does the methodology provide …

  1. …for managing short iterations: Obviously any methodology which does not recommend iterative development gets immediately disqualified.
  2. to help create a self-motivated team: Recommendations need to be specific and actionable and not philosophic statements.

(-ve) Is there any mandate that makes it necessary to produce a document or a model which is expected to be a complete and unambiguous representation of a specific dimension of the software?

Evaluating methodologies and extracting principles
In subsequent posts, I plan to use these criteria to evaluate different methodologies.

Related Posts

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
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

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Hiring the wrong candidate can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars, and result in lost profit and productivity during the search for a replacement. In fact, the Harvard Business Review has found that as much as 80 percent of turnover is caused by bad hiring decisions. But when your organization has implemented DevOps, the job is about more than just technical chops. It’s also about core behaviors: how they work with others, how they make decisions, and how those decisions translate t...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
People want to get going with DevOps or Continuous Delivery, but need a place to start. Others are already on their way, but need some validation of their choices. A few months ago, I published the first volume of DevOps and Continuous Delivery reference architectures which has now been viewed over 50,000 times on SlideShare (it's free to registration required). Three things helped people in the deck: (1) the reference architectures, (2) links to the sources for each architectur...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. ...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Kintone has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
One of the most important tenets of digital transformation is that it’s customer-driven. In fact, the only reason technology is involved at all is because today’s customers demand technology-based interactions with the companies they do business with. It’s no surprise, therefore, that we at Intellyx agree with Patrick Maes, CTO, ANZ Bank, when he said, “the fundamental element in digital transformation is extreme customer centricity.” So true – but note the insightful twist that Maes adde...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion...
It's been a busy time for tech's ongoing infatuation with containers. Amazon just announced EC2 Container Registry to simply container management. The new Azure container service taps into Microsoft's partnership with Docker and Mesosphere. You know when there's a standard for containers on the table there's money on the table, too. Everyone is talking containers because they reduce a ton of development-related challenges and make it much easier to move across production and testing environm...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNu...