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This whole investigation into agile programming is fascinating, and having been exposed to it at my current job, I'm beginning to wonder about what the overarching goal is. Certainly, one of the goals is to make sure the required productivity objectives are met -- bugs are squashed, and features are implemented. But that happens in a normal development process. So how is agile different?

I think the answer is that it allows management one level above the teams to keep a very close eye on what's happening at the ground level. The problem, of course, is that reality intervenes, with its expected delays on the carefully planned schedule. A production emergency arises, a high level feature must be implemented right away; someone is sick -- and the carefully drawn out schedule gets re-written.

What I don't think is covered by the agile process is what happens when the developers are done their due diligence, and the software needs to be staged and then deployed. You might do a small fix (less than a day of development) that needs days of testing. If the developer had to be on hand for the testing, whose budget does that come out of?

However, I agree with some of the agile ideas -- I think the daily stand-up meeting (where everyone on the team talks about their first three priorities of the day, and any possible roadblocks) is an excellent idea. I also think it's important that team members keep the team lead informed throughout the day, if their rate of progress changes dramatically (either "I got this done early" or "I'm having a problem with Vince again").

But I'm not so sure that making up estimates for each individual task is such a great idea, since estimating how long writing a piece of code is tough to do. Certainly, we can guess it will take 4-8 hours, but from a scientific point of view, that's hilariously imprecise (6 +/- 2 is an uncertainty of 33%).

I think I have a Meditation brewing. Great post, thanks so much!

Alex / talexb / Toronto

"Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

In reply to Re: Nobody Expects the Agile Imposition (Part IV): Teamwork by talexb
in thread Nobody Expects the Agile Imposition (Part IV): Teamwork by eyepopslikeamosquito

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