The new “Software Development” magazine came a
couple of days ago. As always, Scott Ambler has an interesting column. I often
agree with his points but I don’t this time and since Scrum is mentioned
in the article I want to pass along the reference.
The article is about using “the right tool for the job”
and its teaser says that “When it comes to methodologies, one size doesn’t
fit all. By examining all the options, you can create a mix-and-match approach
that best suits your project.”
The part of the article that I think is subject to debate is
a figure he shows. The figure has a vertical axis with “full lifecycle”
at the top and “partial methodology” at the bottom. He puts Scrum
near the bottom on this axis saying that “Scrum [focuses] only on one
aspect of software development, …project management.” At similar
levels on this scale are Code and fix, test-driven development, his own Agile
Modeling and Agile Data.
The horizontal axis goes from Ad Hoc on the left to
Prescriptive on the right. Scrum is shown slightly to the Prescriptive side of
the middle. At similar levels on that scale are DSDM, FDD, and Agile Data.
Scrum is defined in a sidebar to the article as “a
partial agile methodology” and says that to use it “Tailor Scrum
into agile or near-agile development methods.” What’s odd is that
other processes that seem far less agile to me (e.g, FDD) are listed as agile
while Scrum is “partial agile”. Similarly, XP is listed as
more ad hoc than Scrum. That’s a hard one—in some ways (good ones) XP
is fairly prescriptive and there was a lot of early talk in XP circles that if
you weren’t doing all 12 practices you weren’t doing XP.
If I had to place Scrum on a scale between Ad Hoc and
Prescriptive I’d put it pretty far to the Ad Hoc side.
Placing it between Partial Methodology and Full Lifecycle is
harder. Yes, it’s partial because it doesn’t define how everything
happens but it seems fairly full lifecycle in that the path to a potentially shippable
product increment is defined. There’s nothing in Scrum about how to end a
project or about how to handle a project in its earliest, pre-funding or
exploratory phases but some of that is what Ken’s been adding in the CSM
classes. Still, I’d say it seems more toward the Full Lifecycle end of
things than the Partial Methodology end of things.
Anyone else have any thoughts about Scott’s article
and placement of Scrum?
In any event, the article is quite good. The print issue is
out now and they seem to put the articles online at www.sdmagazine.com a few weeks
afterwards. (As a bonus, this issue has another great article—Bob Martin
showing how tracking velocity and product burndown help manage a project.)
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