In agile and Scrum, the Product Owner is, by far, the most demanding role. The PO acts as a go-between for communication between the customer and the development team, but, if the whole project goes to the dogs, he or she is the individual responsible for the disaster. But that responsibility doesnÂ’t necessarily mean that the PO is in complete command of every situation.
Over at SD Times, Andrew Binstock has a bone to pick with agile evangelism. In some ways, I sympathize. I've certainly read enough testimonials from born-again agilistas to know that their views aren't always realistic. As Binstock points out, agile is not the "one true path." In fact, there are several methods by which one could successfully manage a complex project—and one of them is waterfall. If your company is meeting its deadlines and staying within budget while using a waterfall approach to development, don't change a thing.
"Agile development used to be relegated to small-scope software development projects. No longer, says IBM's vice president of development transformation and integration. She argues that Agile can adapt to the most complex of development projects." When I read that subhead for an article authored by IBMÂ’s VP of Development Transformation and Integration Sue McKinney, I admit I was expecting to read about how well agile methods scale for enterprise-sized corporations and even hoped to read something about how IBM had managed to pull it off.
Over at the blog Business Analyst Diaries, I came across a this post asking readers what their elevator pitch for agile would sound like. ItÂ’s a fun post, with a few stabs included in his original post and at least one game commenter chiming in, but I think it speaks to a few critical issues for the success of agile. First of all, agile is still neither widely nor clearly understood. And secondly, when it remains vaguely defined or misunderstood, its value isnÂ’t obvious to those who need it most.
A reader recently asked if IÂ’d write on how agile handles quality assurance. Because the agile framework that my team uses is Scrum, IÂ’ll describe the process in relation to Scrum, but keep in mind that most agile methods treat QA similarly. First of all, the Scrum process does not demand that developers use any particular engineering practices. But most agile engineering techniques will integrate well, including test-driven development, continuous integration, and pair programming.
You might have noticed: American auto makers are in a little pickle. Interestingly, Japanese manufacturers are doing just fine. WhatÂ’s that have to do with agile? Well, if you trace agileÂ’s roots back, one place they lead to is lean manufacturing, a production practice that attempts to eliminate waste in an effort to create more value for the end consumer.
Victor Szalvay, CTO of Danuber Technology, makers of ScrumWorks, tells a story about his hope for the future of Agile in the next 2 years. "I think the coolest thing for Agile is if the core principles are still intact and hadn't been corrupted by this push, this press for codification at the enterprise scale."
In my last post, I discussed a section of the Agile Manifesto that jumped out at me when I read it recently. I thought IÂ’d add another post on the Manifesto: ItÂ’s not a long document, but every word is carefully chosen to reinforce what agile stands for, so I think it merits some scrutiny. Another line in the Â“Twelve Principles of Agile SoftwareÂ” section that spells out how agile leads to the delivery of the Â“rightÂ” product is: Â“Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.Â” In the past, stakeholders and developers might never actually meet.
Today, I took a look at the Agile Manifesto, the document signed by agile gurus such as Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Mike Beedle, Alistair Cockburn, Kent Beck, and others at UtahÂ’s Snowbird Ski Resort in 2001. Most folks who have worked in an agile environment know the manifesto well (if not, you should check it out: http://agilemanifesto.org/ ). IÂ’ve noticed that, the longer I use agile, the more deeply I understand the principles that inform the manifesto.