Agile Methods

March 23, 2006

I am reading about Agile Methods and I might be mistaken here but what I read sounds a lot like the RI process in place for Vista. Given the sheer number of features that are part of Vista, the entire Windows team was divided into feature teams (for instance, there is a UX team, a Security team, a Core services team, etc). Each team was given free reign over their code, which was checked into their own private feature branch. Before the code went into the Mainline though, it had to pass some stringent quality “gates”. The process of moving code from a feature branch to the main branch was termed, an RI. These occurred almost on a weekly basis at first and occur nearly everyday now, what with the push for Beta2.

Here is what agile methods are all about:

“Most agile methods attempt to minimize risk by developing software in short timeboxes, called iterations, which typically last one to four weeks. Each iteration is like a miniature software project of its own, and includes all the tasks necessary to release the mini-increment of new functionality: planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation. While an iteration may not add enough functionality to warrant releasing the product, an agile software project intends to be capable of releasing new software at the end of every iteration. At the end of each iteration, the team reevaluates project priorities.

Agile methods emphasize realtime communication, preferably face-to-face, over written documents. Most agile teams are located in a bullpen and include all the people necessary to finish the software. At a minimum, this includes programmers and the people who define the product such as product managers, business analysts, or actual customers. The bullpen may also include testers, interface designers, technical writers, and management. ”

Do you see a similarity?

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