This year three researchers from Massey University in
New Zealand set out to determine whether agile development
truly was better than traditional development. It truly was.
But they also discovered that companies that used more than one
agile method had more success.
The most effective combination was Extreme Programming (XP)
coupled with Scrum. “It appears that successful adoption
of an agile approach does not necessarily just mean selecting
an individual method,” they wrote. “Rather, it may
be better to consider blending multiple complementary
methods.” You can read an online version of the paper (in PDF format) by clicking
CIOs, analysts and agile experts recommend starting with a
blended, customized agile approach. “I find people saying
that they’re taking a little of each and creating their
own agile process. You don’t have to be religious on
these things,” says Jim Johnson, chairman of The Standish
Group. “In turn, they were able to bring success rates up
and deliver better products and services to
Scott Spencer, vice president of engineering at First
American CoreLogic, has been using agile processes at his
company for almost three years. First American CoreLogic is the
largest provider of property and real estate data in the United
States, and Spencer’s 12 development teams span the
globe—on the West and East coasts and in India. His teams
all employ Scrum, but he’s done his share of customizing.
“I don’t know anybody doing pure Scrum or pure
XP,” he says. “It’s hard to do.” For
example, in Scrum there’s no concept of a project
manager. But Spencer uses a staffer in a project manager-type
role (called the Scrum master), which works more effectively
with his development teams. “You have to map agile to
your existing organizational needs,” Spencer says.