Saturday, November 10, 2007

Demonstration-Based Agile (DBA)

Adopting agile development processes means adopting key practices, usually some combination of the following:
  1. Develop in short iterations.
  2. Release frequently.
  3. Write tests first.
  4. Communicate frequently.
Organizations moving towards agile product development typically face major hurdles as many people are entrenched in old waterfall thinking. How can you most effectively move towards agile in such an environment?

Forget about Scrum, XP, and all the buzz words. Let me introduce a new buzz word.

Start with demonstration-based agile (DBA) on a small scale. With demonstration-based agile, you insist on only one thing:

Regular Demos. The development staff demos the product to the product manager and other members of the team at the end of every week (or some other short period).
It's a lot easier for a team to agree to regular demos than it is to short iterations or frequent releases. Yet regular demos aren't much different. The team must iterate on developing the product and must have something to "release" (as a demo) frequently. Regular demos also stimulate frequent communication. Finally, the team sort of plans "tests" by defining in advance what to expect from each demo.

Some curmudgeons may resist the idea of regular demos, but for many the concept is easier to swallow than all of the agile practices that fall out of it.


Scheevel said...

I "introduced" scrum to our local dot-net user group last month. Since so few had any Agile experience I didn't know where to I started at the beginning. I started with the Toyota Production System and how Lean Manufacturing was born, from which Lean Software derived giving birth to Agile principles which Scrum implements. Out of all those concepts the most valuable take-away was "short iterations" and "demos at the end of sprint." I think you've got a great idea here. Easy to implement and simple to visualize benefit.

Mark Waddoups said...

Simple yet powerful. Thanks for sharing.