Computerworld’s recent analysis Five Web 2.0 app dev lessons for enterprise IT shows how we can’t seem to stop the tendency to re-discover and re-name things that have been with us for quite some time. The analysis asserts that quick and incremental updates along with user involvement are the main characteristics of a new software development paradigm, a new process some call “application development 2.0”, championed by a new generation of Web 2.0 start-ups.
“Application development 2.0” is seen in contrast to what in the analysis is called the “traditional corporate waterfall process”, suggesting that the former could reduce development costs and improve quality, if corporate developers and managers are willing to make “hard changes” like these:
- Bring developers and end users closer and involve users in quality assurance processes.
- Keep applications simple. Stay away from unnecessary complexity.
- Favor dynamic languages.
- Release early and often.
- Let the users determine new features.
With the exception of the much debated subject of favoring dynamic languages, compare the changes above to the principles behind the Agile Manifesto:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
I don’t know what percent of corporate developers are using agile development methods, but I know that Agile has been around for a while, and even though it might be a common occurrence among Web 2.0 developers, it’s also made progress within the corporate community. Computerworld has also known this for a while, by the way.
So, and without dismissing the importance of waterfall methods, what should we really be talking about? How corporate developers can benefit from a new development process “discovered” by Web 2.0 companies? Or how we can all benefit from agile software development and contribute to its adoption?
Agile practices are pretty much alive. They don’t need to be brought back, they’re here. And they don’t need a new name either.