Agile Software Development Misconception

This is a follow-up to one of my previous posts “Scrum not just for developers”.  In the past couple of weeks in discussions about software development, a number of people I have spoken with have indicated they believe Agile development applies only to tasks engineers perform. It’s not that these people are opposed to having managers, stakeholders, and users involved in the development process, but that the process doesn’t apply to them. This is an absolutely incorrect assumption.

This misconception comes primarily from

  • not being familiar with Agile Methodologies, and
  • not knowing how or when this communication should take place.

Most typically missing from the process is communication with stakeholders and end-users. A typical anti-pattern that arises is a development team drifting away from interaction with stakeholders and users except at pre-defined scheduled meetings which are spaced too far apart. Stakeholders and users are critical for defining the desired functional capabilities of the system being built throughout each development cycle. Capabilities are refined in short development cycles and new requirements arise which must be addressed as soon as possible.

It’s true some methodologies focus more on the programming techniques. For example, XP focuses on Pair Programming, Test Driven Design and Refactoring. But even XP is dependent on a methodology driven by communication with all team members. Among other places, this is referenced in

It can’t be made important enough that no matter what agile methodology your team applies, the communications and involvement of All project team members is critical to project success. A simple overview of Agile Development principles can be found at Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Where one of the key principles is

” Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.”

Even better, I would include End Users or people who represent end users for constant valuable feedback throughout the development of the project.

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