Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Automic Blog, Liz McMillan, Mamoon Yunus

Related Topics: Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Machine Learning

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 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

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
With Cloud Foundry you can easily deploy and use apps utilizing websocket technology, but not everybody realizes that scaling them out is not that trivial. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Roman Swoszowski, CTO and VP, Cloud Foundry Services, at Grape Up, will show you an example of how to deal with this issue. He will demonstrate a cloud-native Spring Boot app running in Cloud Foundry and communicating with clients over websocket protocol that can be easily scaled horizontally and coordinate...
Docker is on a roll. In the last few years, this container management service has become immensely popular in development, especially given the great fit with agile-based projects and continuous delivery. In this article, I want to take a brief look at how you can use Docker to accelerate and streamline the software development lifecycle (SDLC) process.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
IT organizations are moving to the cloud in hopes to approve efficiency, increase agility and save money. Migrating workloads might seem like a simple task, but what many businesses don’t realize is that application migration criteria differs across organizations, making it difficult for architects to arrive at an accurate TCO number. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO of CloudHealth Technologies, will offer a systematic approach to understanding the TCO of a cloud application...
API Security has finally entered our security zeitgeist. OWASP Top 10 2017 - RC1 recognized API Security as a first class citizen by adding it as number 10, or A-10 on its list of web application vulnerabilities. We believe this is just the start. The attack surface area offered by API is orders or magnitude larger than any other attack surface area. Consider the fact the APIs expose cloud services, internal databases, application and even legacy mainframes over the internet. What could go wrong...
The goal of Continuous Testing is to shift testing left to find defects earlier and release software faster. This can be achieved by integrating a set of open source functional and performance testing tools in the early stages of your software delivery lifecycle. There is one process that binds all application delivery stages together into one well-orchestrated machine: Continuous Testing. Continuous Testing is the conveyer belt between the Software Factory and production stages. Artifacts are m...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Kelly Looney, director of DevOps consulting for Skytap, showed how an incremental approach to introducing containers into complex, distributed applications results in modernization with less risk and more reward. He also shared the story of how Skytap used Docker to get out of the business of managing infrastructure, and into the business of delivering innovation and business value. Attendees learned how up-front planning allows for a clean sep...
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We have already established the importance of APIs in today’s digital world (read about it here). With APIs playing such an important role in keeping us connected, it’s necessary to maintain the API’s performance as well as availability. There are multiple aspects to consider when monitoring APIs, from integration to performance issues, therefore a general monitoring strategy that only accounts for up-time is not ideal.
Web services have taken the development world by storm, especially in recent years as they've become more and more widely adopted. There are naturally many reasons for this, but first, let's understand what exactly a web service is. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines "web of services" as "message-based design frequently found on the Web and in enterprise software". Basically, a web service is a method of sending a message between two devices through a network. In practical terms, this ...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that’s no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, will explore how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He wi...
We have Continuous Integration and we have Continuous Deployment, but what’s continuous across all of what we do is people. Even when tasks are automated, someone wrote the automation. So, Jayne Groll evangelizes about Continuous Everyone. Jayne is the CEO of the DevOps Institute and the author of Agile Service Management Guide. She talked about Continuous Everyone at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. She describes it as "about people, culture, and collaboration mapped into your value streams....