Book Review - Managing Iterative Software Development Projects by Kurt Bittner and Ian Spence
I can understand how iterative agile methodologies aren't always welcomed in a formal corporate IT structure. But using the guidelines in Managing Iterative Software Development Projects by Kurt Bittner and Ian Spence can add just enough formal structure to keep the benefits and comfort the traditionalists.
Part 1 - The Principles of Iterative Project Management: What Is Iterative Development?; How Do Iterative Projects Function?; Controlling Iterative Projects; Are You Ready for Iterative Project Management?
Part 2 - Planning and Managing An Iterative Project: A Layered Approach to Planning and Managing Iterative Projects; Overall Project Planning; Evolution and Phase Planning; Iteration Planning; Iteration, Phase, and Project Assessments; A Scalable Approach to Managing Iterative Projects; Getting Started with Iterative Project Management
Part 3 - Appendices: A Brief Introduction to Use-Case Driven Development; Outlines, Templates, and Checklists; Examples
The biggest mark against typical agile methodologies like Extreme Programming is that they appear to come across as a chaotic work effort designed to get things out fast with little documentation. That's an unrealistic oversimplification, but unfortunately that's the perception all too often. The result is that organizations stick with waterfall-style development activities, and things take far longer (and may not ever deliver the intended system) than they should. Bittner and Spence take the iterative style of development (short iterative releases, constant user feedback and re-evaluation) and put some of the more traditional project management checks in place. The iterations are mapped out ahead of time, and the project is managed as a whole, with "sub-projects" contained within. While not necessarily much different than the popular agile methodologies, it comes across as a more controlled formal process, without losing the flexibility of the iterative method of software development. If you're a small, informal team to start with, this might feel like overkill and a move back to "the Dark Side" of project management. But for those in formal IT shops that spend far too much time analyzing and not enough time actually building software, this could be the perfect approach to becoming agile.
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