Variations on the Agile Development Theme

Extreme Programming (XP) In an XP project, programmers and business managers set up "stories" on index cards. Each story describes a piece of development and the amount of time it will take. Those are ordered on a storyboard. If there are too many stories for the amount of time allotted for the project (and there always are), a CIO or project manager must decide what stories to remove. One story must be finished before another is started. Team coding is suggested.

Standard & Poor’s S&P is institutionalizing its own Agile methodology and creating templates for future projects. It’s similar to XP but with less focus on team coding and more on limiting project scope. Says CIO Ken Moskowitz, "We have an entire group that controls scope changes. No one can change the scope unilaterally."

Recipe for Success Developed by Jim Johnson of The Standish Group, Recipe for Success follows Agile’s rules for iterative development and minimal features while emphasizing a standard infrastructure. When Johnson consults on these projects, standard means don’t tweak. Ever.

Scrum Scrum uses monthly "Sprints." Each Sprint is devoted to developing features collected in a "Backlog." Scrum meetings (essentially triage), in which the team gathers to check the project’s progress, are held every day.

Adaptive Software Development/Crystal Two Agile methodologies that recently merged. Adaptive development’s hallmark is collaboration between business and IT. There’s no planning; there’s speculation. Crystal was designed to sacrifice some of XP’s productivity for ease of implementation. The two methodologies hope that in concert they can prove more effective than they were solo.

Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM) Think of it as XP’s progenitor, popular in the United Kingdom. DSDM preaches two-to-six-week cycles, small development teams and minimal requirements with the expectation they’ll change. But unlike other Agile techniques, it also borrows more heavily from traditional development. A DSDM project even starts with a feasibility study that includes some of the planning and requirements tactics of traditional development.

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