Agile exponents extol ROI

Members of the Agile Alliance were preaching to the converted in Wellington earlier this month as they extolled the virtues of programming in pairs.

Members of the Agile Alliance were preaching to the converted in Wellington earlier this month as they extolled the virtues of programming in pairs.

“We’re already doing it,” says Christchurch-based Trimble Navigation’s Graham Wilson.

Trimble features in Agile Software Development Ecosystems, a new book by American Jim Highsmith, one of the best-known advocates of agile development methods.

According to Wilson, the technique “just makes sense”.

Highsmith was absent but other US exponents of agile methods — including the leader of the nine-month-old alliance, Ken Scwhaber — were at the two-day conference, attended by about 40 local developers.

The audience heard that the ability to react well to change is the most important success factor on a software development project.

Schwaber told attendees that talk of process, and quality, and even agility, was secondary to the main goal, which was making money. Return on investment (ROI) is the main driver behind what he does, and agile processes help him increase it.

Another Christchurch attendee, Darryl Sherwood of Pulse Data, was impressed.

“I am really interested in trying pair programming and test first development. These will be a challenge to introduce but I think if the acceptance is there, it will be of great benefit.”

American Laurie Williams, a professor at North Carolina State University, who is researching the benefits of Xtreme programming (XP) practices, and agile method, was also at the event.

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