The Agile Difference for SCM

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Summary:
The authors describe what they believe are the root causes of key differences between agile and traditional development and how they change certain assumptions SCM has about software development.

Should I be Worried About Agile Development?
Agile development practices can significantly impact software development practices. Of course, any significant process change is, ultimately, a change in the organization’s culture. Underlying any cultural change is a set of values and beliefs that define and sustain the change in behaviors and mindsets. How will such changes affect us as SCM professionals?

  • Should SCM professionals be worried about agile projects running out of control?
  • Should agile teams be worried about SCM cramping their style and entangling them in red tape?

We describe what we believe are the root causes of some key differences between agile and traditional development and how they change certain assumptions SCM has about software development.

Should I be Worried About Agile Development?
Agile development practices can significantly impact software development practices. Of course, any significant process change is, ultimately, a change in the organization’s culture. Underlying any cultural change is a set of values and beliefs that define and sustain the change in behaviors and mindsets. How will such changes affect us as SCM professionals?

  • Should SCM professionals be worried about agile projects running out of control?
  • Should agile teams be worried about SCM cramping their style and entangling them in red tape?

Our answer, hopefully, is reassuring to both camps. Agile software advocates push for lean, people-oriented, adaptable development processes. At an XP conference in London recently, one of us met both the wild enthusiasts fired up with XP fervor. The more cautious people were trying to find out what it was all about and leave with some useful ideas.

This represents the real world: though there are increasing numbers of "pure" agile projects out there, there is a much larger number of projects and organizations that are looking to introduce agile packages to their current development processes. Some opt for a revolutionary approach to introduce agility into the workplace. More and more, though, are finding that an evolutionary approach to adopting methods from the agile camp is what is going to have the widest applicability and success.

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About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at Techwell.com,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at blog.bradapp.net.

About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at steve@berczuk.com or visit berczuk.com and follow his blog at blog.berczuk.com.

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

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