Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Doing Things the Old-fashioned Way

My work gives me a lot of insight into how software projects can (and frequently do) go bad. Much of my focus of late has been on the more adaptive software development methodologies (the distributed agile software development experiments I did for my doctorate, for example). But, one project, or perhaps more correctly, program that has caught my attention as of late is one that is traditionally considered too large for using agile as a methodology -- with 250+ individuals involved. Officially, they used a plan-driven methodology.

Some agile purists might point out that the methodology they chose (actually, that they were forced to use) is the root of the problem. Perhaps it is, but as I look deeper into the project and its troubles I notice that they really did not pay much heed to any particular (official) methodology. As they move out of their dark days and into their next project, I wonder whether just following any rigorous methodology would help them be more successful (yes, I consider agile methodologies to be rigorous -- some of the most disciplined and rigorous, actually).

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