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Agile Project Management Model

August 10, 2009

The Agile Project management model is the latest one, appeared in the 1990s. Its developers believed the Waterfall model was too slow and bureaucratic and did not comfortably accommodate the ways systems/software engineers actually work best.

Agile, put simply, is where software is developed progressively with each new release adding more capabilities
It appeared under different names and flavours such as:
Scrum (in management)
Crystal Clear,
Extreme Programming (XP)
Adaptive Software Development
Feature Driven Development
DSDM
Agile aims to reduce risk by breaking projects into small, time-limited modules or time boxes (“iterations”) with each interation being approached like a small, self-contained mini-project, each lasting only a few weeks.
Each iteration has it own self-contained stages of analysis, design, production, testing and documentation. In theory, a new software release could be done at the end of each iteration, but in practice the progress made in one iteration may not be worth a release and it will be carried over and incorporated into the next iteration.
The project’s priorities, direction and progress are re-evaluated at the end of each iteration.
Agile teams tend to work as a team in a bullpen – an open floor-plan work area that makes face-to-face communications easy. Agile, however, has been criticized for its lack of formal documentation.
Agile’s Advantages over Traditional approach:
Customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software
Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
Working software is the principal measure of progress.
Even late changes in requirements are welcomed.
Close, daily, cooperation between developers and customers
Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication.
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design.
Simplicity
Self-organising teams
Regular adaptation to changing circumstances
Such flexibility is seen by some as a lack of discipline, but its ability to adapting quickly to change can make it a powerful method of tackling big projects – and ICT is a field where rapid and significant change is the rule rather than the exception! On the other hand, long-term (beyond a couple of months) planning is very hard to do with an Agile approach.
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