Pondering best agile practices

Jeff Feinman
December 1, 2008 —  Seven years after the Agile Manifesto laid out the basic tenets of agile development, companies are hammering out best practices. They include continuous integration, test-driven development and two-level planning, which Per Kroll, Rational Expertise Development & Innovation chief architect at IBM, described as effective management of an agile project beyond iteration.

Other practices that IBM said all agile teams should consider, depending on the project requirements, are concurrent, independent or performance testing and vulnerability assessment.

Patchen Noelke, a senior product marketing manager with Serena Software, noted that while the manifesto does not spell out rules for training and coaching, there is “a strong correlation between training up front on agile and ongoing coaching on agile embedded in the team that contributes greatly to the success of projects. In different companies, agile faces different challenges. Some of those are skill [related], some are point questions on a day-to-day basis. If you don’t have an agile coach available, what do you do?”

Agile trainer Jim York, founder of consultancy FoxHedge, said he doesn’t believe in best practices but said there are some basic disciplines that all agile developers and teams should cover. Those include regular testing to ensure the project is on track, continuous integration and customer interaction. Collocation is also beneficial for most teams, York believes.

“If you’re not soliciting feedback from customers or you’re not inspecting whether your solution is having the desired result. I just don’t think that’s professional,” York said.

Related Search Term(s): agile development, professional development

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