Formal Versus Agile Methodologies

Submitted on Sep 25, 2009, 4:28 p.m.

I’ve been an IEEE and Computer Society member for a couple of years now. Trying to keep up with the IEEE publications along with my RSS Reader and tech news has been a challenge – so I’m sure I’ve missed some good stuff along the way.

However, an article in the September 2009 edition of ‘Computer’ caught my eye: “Formal Versus Agile: Survival of the Fittest” by Sue Black, Paul P. Boca, Jonathan P. Bowan, Jason Gorman and Mike Hinchey.

It’s a great article with good history and an insightful assessment of the current ‘methodologies’ landscape. Unfortunately the article is only available to subscribers of ‘Computer’ at the moment. I hope it will be published more widely in the near future since I think it has a wide appeal.

The author’s comparison of RAD and Agile was particularly interesting – and the following statement about Agile practises is worth quoting…

Most teams purporting to be doing agile software development are not applying the level of technical rigor necessary to succeed at it. Most ‘agile’ teams have actually only adopted Scrum’s project-management practise and have failed to effectively adopt ‘the hard disciplines’ like test-driven development, refactoring, pair programming, simple design (writing the simplest code possible to satisfy the customer’s requirements), and continuous integration.

Their description of the major misconception that ‘Agile = Fast’ was also insightful (when it should be about being responsive to ‘change’).

A great read if you can get hold of it.