With an agreed upon backlog of work items within our Bugzilla database, regular one or two week sprints, and daily online chat scrums , we do what we can as a self organizing team to burn down the work items.
We also employ test-driven development by beginning each new feature as an executable use case, a JUnit-driven acceptance test that uses mock objects and automated scripting to test the core business logic. All test cases, whether acceptance or technical tests, are invoked from automated Ant scripts run under Anthill at build time. We also run these tests under the Emma code coverage tooling to verify that we are indeed testing all that we ship.
The Future of Software Development Organizations?
Over the past year, our company has operated in the same manner as the previously mentioned project. Although we are not currently distributed across the globe, we do cover all the time zones in the United States. We have successfully employed the same technologies and practices to develop Cyrano, a remote sensor fusion system for hazardous materials detection and situational awareness management, in partnership with the US Army's National Automotive Center.
Our success comes from building strong relationships, engaging in candid communication, employing sharing technologies, managing work in short small bursts, and by architecting solutions based on shared programming models. Our processes and documentation are extremely lightweight, but our high value and dense communication content and rapid cycle times provide concrete results. We emphasize the reuse of concepts and conventions, rather than code and frameworks. We punctuate our projects with intensive face-to-face workshops and follow that up with daily interactions over electronic media. As the world continues to flatten and the individual becomes more empowered, this is the future of software development companies that value people and results over processes and interim artifacts.
About the Author
John Cunningham, co-founder of Band XI International , has practiced agile since his early Smalltalk days with Andersen Consulting, CSC, Travelers, and Object Technology International. While with IBM, he led customer engagement teams applying agile to the embedded Java space. Mr. Cunningham holds the following degrees: BS in Mechanical Engineering (Columbia University), MS in Mechanical Engineering (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), and an MBA in Finance (University of Connecticut).