Agile Brings Professionalism to Software Development - Page 3

Software Development"> Continuous integration, though it existed before, became popular with the Extreme programming method of agile development and it involves the practice of developers frequently committing every change, no matter how small, to a revision control system.

Stelligent provides consulting, expertise and support around continuous integration, and ThoughtWorks CruiseControl is a continuous integration server. Other continuous integration products include Atlassians Bamboo, IBMs BuildForge, IntelliJs TeamCity, Borlands Gauntlet, and open-source tools such as Apaches Gump and Continuum, as well as Tinderbox from MIT and Hudson from Mozilla.

Rodney Bodamer, senior practice manager of the agile consulting practice at CC Pace Inc., a Fairfax, Va., business and technology consulting firm focused on the financial services and mortgage industry, said, "some teams see it easier to start small and incrementally, and to start around agile project management. And they generate software a business can see and understand."

Knoernschild said that the continuous integration strategy he likes to see put into place is also usually popular with customers.

"Once you get the continuous integration strategy in place, its almost forced upon you by the customers to keep it going," he said. "You cant take it away."

York responded, saying: "Im not sure what is the best place to start, but creating that customer pull is key. That is so much more powerful than technology push."

Moreover, some of the agile practices such as the daily stand-up meetings, where the team meets briefly and everybody stands to discuss the status of the project, can be contagious. Indeed, ThoughtWorks Julius said he has seen clients and other departments in organizations see the stand-up meeting concept in practice and adopt it for their own uses.

"One of the key aspects of agile for me is its all about communication," Julius said.

Meanwhile, ClearStream Consultings Meszaros said although agile development might be more amenable to a more generic platform environment, it also can be used with proprietary application software. Meszaros said he has been successful doing agile development in an SAP environment.

"There are some limitations when working in very proprietary environments," Meszaros said. "These solutions work out of the box, but you can customize them and make them work. But absolutely you get the same kind of value in doing it [agile development] in SAP as in .Net or Java. Its not the technology, its the process. With a little bit of creativity and ingenuity you can do agile in SAP and other proprietary solutions."

The group also agreed that agile development is helpful with outsourcing and offshoring engagements, but that things work better when there are fewer language barriers, or when you bring more of the distant workers onshore or they send a developer proxy to the U.S. to help interact with the offshore team.

The Stelligent dinner was a lesson in itself. And several big name user organizations were represented at the event, though none of them could comment for attribution because their companies view agile development as a competitive issue.


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