Adapting the Agile Mindset to Software Configuration Management

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for a fairly fixed and prescriptive path while in Agile the path is allowed to vary, a world where collaboration, change, and sharing rule. The following are some viewpoints of the Agile mindset.

 

·         Think small:  Agile thinking focuses you on short iterations, small increments, and bite-size tasks (story tasks or backlog items). Work chunks should fit within an iteration. These time-box activities ensure continuous progress. Also think small or minimal documentation. Agile does not prescribe a certain length to any documents but it clearly advocates that you focus on working software over comprehensive documentation. The key here is to document what you think may help with collaboration or communication, but it should not be a form of a contract that specifies each item. Instead spend that time building the iterative chunks of functionality and then allowing the customer to respond to it.

·         Think business value: Agile actively encourages the discovery of business value, because the conclusion of each short iteration is reviewed by the customer, the project stays very close to what the customer finds valuable. In traditional methods, project timelines are typically very long (many months to even well over a year). The customer is typically engaged in the beginning (requirements) and then toward the end (user testing). During the time in between, the customer needs often change and these changes leading to a product that is less than ideal and where some of the functionality is unused. Agile helps you strive for a continuous reflection of business value all along the project lifecycle. This ensures that once the project is delivered, the customers find the deliverable valuable and ready to use.

·         Think continuous:  A word you find in the agile space again and again is “continuous”. Dictionary.com defines continuous as being in immediate connection. In traditional methods, the world is well planned with very specific milestones and changes are constrained after a certain point. Agile thinking includes a world that is much more fluid, changes are dynamic and in fact excepted. It is a world where there is continuous building of business value and continuous improvement.

·         Think self-empowered team: By thinking as a self-empowered team, it means that you move away from the command-and-control structure where one person is telling the team what to do and move into a self-directing structure where everyone participates in decisions and the direction of the project. Broadening the base of empowerment and pushing down the level of approval and decisions to the lowest possible level, i.e., reducing the need for numerous chains of approvals and decisions, can be a big change for most organization but results in decision-making where the most details and information live. 

About the author

Mario  Moreira's picture Mario Moreira

Mario Moreira is a columnist for the CM Journal, a writer for the Agile Journal, an author, an agile and CM expert for CA. He has worked in the CM field since 1986 and in the agile field since 1998. Mario has experience with numerous CM technologies and processes and has implemented CM on over 150 applications/products, which include establishing global SCM infrastructures. He is a certified ScrumMaster in the agile arena having implemented Scrum and XP practices. Mario is the author of Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams  and Software Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap. Also consider visiting Mario’s blog on CM for Agile and Agile adoption at http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/.

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