Agile methodologies

With the development of the Learning tools for NSW DET there has been building interest about development methodologies. The traditional waterfall method is well in favour by software developers, but change is happening. Rapid application development underpins most Web 2 technologies and of these methodologies Agile development seems to be getting particular attention. Agile is about easily adapting to changing requirements throughout the process. Agile development is pragmatic in understanding the fact that requirements in a business environment changes constantly. They all incorporate iteration and the continuous feedback that it provides to successively refine and deliver a software system. They all involve continuous planning, continuous testing, continuous integration, and other forms of continuous evolution of both the project and the software.

The manifesto sums the core values:

• Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

• Working software over comprehensive documentation

• Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

• Responding to change over following a plan

But change management must always harmonise with any project development methodology. Again questions of what is the most appropriate CM strategy should be asked. Currently at CCP we are using the Prosci methodology- for organisational change. But applying this to a complex product assumes a product is a fixed entity- and developed in classic waterfall methodology-sequentially. Web 2.0 applications are not static but rather rapidly evolving – not just in terms of functionality but also how they are being used. We can no longer assume that CM is around a single event based on a particular product but need to have a more iterative and evolving model. A model which doesn’t see a linear progression of adoption and engagement but rather a continuing and cyclic engagement of CM elements such as Awareness, Desire and Knowledge in relation not just to the whole product but realising that these Web 2 learning tools are composed of many sub components which make up the overall entity. As such perhaps the CM strategy needs to target these components and not just the overall application. For instance the blog currently under development, is adopted by users in multiple and evolving ways. Many of which could not have been realised in any requirements specifications.

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About thand

I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
This entry was posted in application development, Change mangement, innovation, management, Web2. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Agile methodologies

  1. Mr. Hericus says:

    I think the key thing about Agile is that it helps you to keep your focus on small deliverables, rather than a huge project. When you keep focused on small deliverables, you can design, develop, demo and even release in a month or even 2 week cycles. This keeps the customer and the management team engaged continually.

    Contrast that with the huge project that spans anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. You get to the end of a project like that, and even if all the stars align and you produce exactly what you set out to do from the beginning, you’ll realize that the market has changed, your customers have changed, and what you’ve created no longer meets the needs of your customer today.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Tim says:

    Conference shortly with the Agile alliance

    http://www.agileaustralia.com/

  3. Ian McKee says:

    Another good post Tim. Have to agree with Mr Hericus. There is definitely an art in breaking projects up into achievable chunks. The beauty of the agile development model is being able to thoroughly incorporate user input in an ongoing manner thereby offering a greater chance of user satisfaction. All this great theory and works well in some arenas however, it doesn’t seem to run as smoothly inside large corporations or bureaucracies.

    For those interested in some tools that facilitate agile development at a lower scale try this link on Mashable:
    http://mashable.com/2008/11/01/web-development-tools/

  4. thand says:

    Ian would agree- we have challenges inside our own organisations. Wonder how many are attending:
    http://www.agileaustralia.com/

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