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«ABSTRACT The purpose of this research study is to perform a comparison and contrast analysis on three F. Davis Cardwell published longitudinal case ...»

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Scrum teams work in short iterations, often between 2 weeks and 30 days long. In Scrum, the current iteration is called a “sprint.” A sprint planning meeting is held with the Scrum development team: testers, management, the project manager, and the product owner. In the sprint planning meeting, this group chooses which features from the product backlog are to be included in the next iteration, driven by highest business value, risk and the capacity of the team. Once a sprint begins, it is locked; at that point, features cannot be added to the current sprint. Daily 10-to-15 minute Scrum meetings are held. While these meetings are open, only members of the Scrum team are allowed to actively participate; all others may only observe. Each team member answers the following questions: “What have you done since the last daily Scrum? What will you do between now and the next daily Scrum? What is getting in the way of you doing your work?” (Williams, Brown, et al., 2011, p. 2) At the end of a sprint, a sprint review takes place to review progress and to demonstrate completed features to the product owner, management, users, and the team members. After the sprint review, the team conducts a retrospective meeting. In the retrospective meeting, the team discusses what went well in the last sprint and how they might improve for the next one. (Williams, et al., 2011, pp.

1 – 2)

THE PERFORMANCE OF AGILE METHODS:

COMPARISON TO TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS

Figure 8. The Scrum Process (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, p. 28)

• The Crystal Family of Methodologies. Crystal was founded by Alistair Cockburn, one of the authors of the agile manifesto. He developed the Crystal family of software development processes as a group of approaches tailored to fit different size teams. Crystal is seen as a family because of the belief that different approaches are needed, depending on the size of the development team and the criticality of the application.

Figure 9. The Crystal Family (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, p. 37)

Each color in the Crystal family denotes its “heaviness;” the darker the color, the heavier or more plandriven the method. The character symbols in the illustration represent the potential loss due to a system failure: Comfort [C], Discretionary money [D], Essential money [E], and Life [L]. Currently, only

THE PERFORMANCE OF AGILE METHODS:COMPARISON TO TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS

Crystal Clear and Crystal Orange are realized. All Crystal approaches share common features; they all have three priorities: safety [in project outcome,] efficiency, and habitability [developers can live with the process.] They also share common properties, of which the most important are: frequent delivery, reflective improvement, and close communication. The focus on habitability is an important part of the Crystal mindset. The overarching goal of Crystal is to put into place the smallest effective amount of process possible. As a result, Crystal requires less discipline than XP, trading off efficiency for greater habitability and reduced chance of failure. (Fowler, 2005, pp. 23 – 24)

Figure 10. One Crystal Orange Increment (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, p. 41)

• Dynamic Systems Development Method. DSDM is a development process based on agile principles, including iterative and incremental development and continuous user/customer involvement. DSDM consists of five phases: [1] feasibility study, [2] business study, [3] functional model iteration, [4] design and build iteration, and [5] implementation. DSDM incorporates iterations through time boxes; a time box lasts for a predetermined period of time, and the iteration ends with the expiration of the time box. DSDM fixes cost, quality, and time at the outset and uses prioritization of scope into musts, shoulds, coulds, and won’t haves to adjust the project deliverable

to meet the fixed business constraints. There are nine underlying principles of DSDM:

1. Active user involvement is imperative.

2. Teams are empowered to make decisions.

3. The focus is on frequent delivery of products.

4. Fitness for business purposes is the essential criterion for acceptance of deliverables.

5. Iterative and incremental development is necessary in order to converge on an accurate business solution.

6. All changes during development are reversible.

THE PERFORMANCE OF AGILE METHODS:

COMPARISON TO TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS

7. Requirements are base lined at a high level.

8. Testing is integrated throughout the life-cycle.

9. A collaborative and cooperative approach shared by all stakeholders is essential. (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, pp. 61 – 64) Figure 11. The DSDM Process (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, p. 62)

• Feature-Driven Development. FDD is an agile, highly adaptive software development process that is based on multiple short iterations. FDD emphasizes quality at all steps; delivers frequent, tangible working results; and provides accurate and meaningful progress and status information

with the minimum of overhead and disruption for the developers. FDD is composed of five phases:





[1] Develop an overall model, [2] build a feature list, [3] plan by feature, [4] design by feature, and [5] build by feature.

FDD decomposes the entire problem domain into tiny problems, called features, which can be solved in a small period of time, usually two weeks. A feature is a small, client-valued function that can be implemented in the time allotted. In a business system, a feature maps to a step in an activity within a business process. Any function deemed too complex to be implemented within two weeks is further decomposed into smaller functions until each sub-problem is small enough to be called a feature. Features are then developed independently. Unlike some other agile methods, FDD claims to be suitable for the development of critical systems. (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, pp.

47 – 49)

THE PERFORMANCE OF AGILE METHODS:

COMPARISON TO TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS

Figure 12. The FDD Process (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, p. 48)

• Adaptive Software Development. ASD is an agile software development process that grew out of rapid application development work done by James A. Highsmith III and Sam Bayer. The central principle of ASD is that continuous adaptation of the process to the work at hand is the normal state of affairs. ASD replaces the traditional waterfall cycle with a repeating series of phases: speculate, collaborate, and learn. The ASD process is mission focused, feature based, iterative, time boxed, risk driven, and change tolerant. The phases are named as they are to emphasize the role of change throughout the process. The word “speculate” is used rather than plan, because of the common assumption that a deviation from the plan is a failure. Likewise, “collaboration” refers to the teamwork necessary to effectively develop software under changing circumstances. The word “learning” acknowledges that mistakes are inevitable when developing software in a rapidly changing environment; the key is to learn from correcting the mistakes, which leads to greater experience and eventually mastery over the problem domain. (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, pp. 68 – 71) Figure 13. The ASD Process (Abrahamsson, et al., 2002, p. 70)

THE PERFORMANCE OF AGILE METHODS:

COMPARISON TO TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all of the existing agile development processes. Some of the additional processes that are considered part of the agile development family include the Rational Unified Process [RUP], Agile Modeling, Pragmatic Programming, and Context Driven Planning, to name a few. Some of these, such as RUP, are more properly considered to be development frameworks that can be imposed upon any software development method regardless of whether it is agile or traditional. Others, such as Agile Modeling, are not stand-alone processes, but can be used within a complete process. These processes and other agile processes that have not been mentioned are outside of the scope of this paper. [See Appendix B for a table showing comparative features of the agile software development processes described.]

REACTION OF THE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

The reaction of the software development community to the introduction of agile methods has been mixed. Proponents of agile methods have strenuously and vociferously promoted agile methods as a panacea for all software development problem domains. Opponents have just as strenuously argued that a structured and planned methodology is necessary to successfully develop software, especially for safety-critical systems. There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that agile methods are effective in certain situations; as experience with agile methods has grown, a body of evidence has slowly emerged as to its practical effectiveness. By 2001, there was enough practical experience with agile development to conclude that agile development works, given a relatively narrow set of circumstantial parameters; specifically, agile processes can be said to work where the project is non safety-critical, has volatile requirements, and is developed by small, skilled teams located near enough to one another that rapid and consistent communication is possible. Although the agile value set can be adapted to work under different circumstances, experience to date seems to be defining the boundary conditions for truly agile behavior to this parameter set. (Williams & Cockburn, 2011, p. 40)

INTRODUCTION TO THE CASE STUDIES

There are three related case studies supporting this research; the first is a longitudinal case study performed by Layman, Williams, & Cunningham (2004a.) This case study evaluates the effects of adopting the Extreme Programming [XP] methodology in an industrial environment [i.e., Sabre Airline Solutions]. The case study compares two releases of the same product. The first release was developed using traditional development methods, immediately prior to the team’s adoption of XP methodology. The second release was completed after approximately two years of XP use. The second case study is a similar study, done by the same research team in the same industrial environment. This study compares the release of a larger project developed using XP to published industry averages. (Layman, Williams, & Cunningham 2004b) The third case study compares the second and third releases of a Servlet/XML application developed by a seven-person team at IBM for a toolkit that is used to create products for external customers. (Williams, Krebs, et al., 2004, p. 2.) The team used a subset of XP practices deemed “safe” and appropriate for their team culture and project characteristics. In the second release, the team began their initial adoption of XP practices.

The team then expanded their XP adoption in the third release. Supporting these three studies is an evaluation framework developed by Williams, Krebs, & Layman (17 June, 2004) which provides a benchmark measurement method to assess how thoroughly and how effectively an organization has adopted XP practices. Additional research data are drawn from Hanssen & Fægri (2006), which presents data concerning customer engagement for both traditional development methods and agile methods, as experienced by a small software product company. Additional empirical data are provided by Lindvall, Basili, Boehm, Costa, Dangle, Shull,... Zelkowitz (2002.) An empirical case study concerning stakeholder satisfaction within agile development projects is presented by Ferreira & Cohen (2008.) Data concerning project failure within software development projects of all methods are presented in a case study by Linberg (1999.) These data are useful in determining the effects of software development methods on product quality. Additional data are drawn from a case study presented by Williams, Brown, et al. (2011), which describes the experiences of three development teams implementing Scrum at Microsoft. A method for determining the optimal development method

THE PERFORMANCE OF AGILE METHODS:COMPARISON TO TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS

based on project risk factors is provided by Boehm and Turner (2003.) Evaluation of the research data is facilitated by Ho, Johnson, Williams, & Maximilien (2006) in a paper that provides information on evaluating agile performance requirements, specifications, and testing. Abbas, et al., (2008) explore the historical roots of development methods, and discuss the impact of agile thinking on the development process. Brooks (1995) provides a framework for understanding schedule performance within software development projects. Dalcher (2005) provides an overview of methods for understanding quality issues within software development projects. Finally, Siakas & Siakas (2007) explore ways in which agile professional culture impacts software development quality.

THE PERFORMANCE OF AGILE METHODS:COMPARISON TO TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT METHODS

CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH FINDINGS

INTRODUCTION TO THE RESEARCH

To provide a framework for drawing useful conclusions from the case study data that follows, the chapter begins with an explanation of the XP evaluation framework. Next the chapter presents findings gleaned from the case studies used as the foundation for this paper. Finally, the selected data are compared and evaluated in terms of their impact on development costs, development schedule, quality, and stakeholder satisfaction.

THE XP EVALUATION FRAMEWORK

One of the reasons that this particular set of case studies was chosen from the relevant literature is the existence of an evaluation framework used throughout the studies to organize the data. This framework, the XP evaluation framework, version 1.4 (Williams, Krebs, & Layman, 2004), is useful because it helps to normalize the inevitable differences in particulars between the compared projects.



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