Thursday, March 10, 2011

Agile reality v rhetoric

Scott Ambler posted his ideas about whether agile reality is keeping up with agile rhetoric. He listed seven specific examples that he thought needed some explanation in a 'X v Y' format, with X being the rhetoric and Y being the reality as he sees it from his view of what practices should be.

Among the seven, here's the one I liked the best:
Simple designs are best BUT the architecture should be thought out early in the lifecycle. Too many developers interpret the advice to focus on simple designs to mean that they should build everything from scratch. Yet more often than not the simplest design is to take advantage of what is already there, and the best way to do that is to work closely with people who understand your existing technical infrastructure. Investing in a little bit of architectural envisioning early in the lifecycle enables your team to identify existing enterprise assets that you can leverage, to identify your architectural options, and to select what appears to be the best option available to you. The details will still emerge over time, and some decisions will be deferred until a later date when it’s more appropriate to make them, but the bottom line is that disciplined agilists think before they act.

So why do I like this one the best?

Because architecture is a part of every project deliverable schema, whether or not it's acknowledged or not. Architecture is the definitional framework that holds all the disparate pieces together and gives rise to the value of the whole over the parts.

I say that every project needs the role of architect, and every project needs to start with architecture, even if it's only called storyboarding or some such.

In another recent post here at Musing's, I discussed the management hazard of not concentrating on the bigger picture. It's all part and parcel of the same thing.

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