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Quality Engineering >> Quality Methodologies

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Cies
Member


Reged: 07/11/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Gloucestershire, UK
Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls?
      #526757 - 10/24/08 01:05 AM

I've heard this said a lot, and I'm not sure I agree with it. I'm currently reading a guideline produced within our company, as part of introducing an Agile rollout. All development staff here have only worked with waterfall.

In explaining the concept of a sprint, there is a diagram which divides the Sprint timebox into 3 (non equal), sequential phases - evaluation, build and deployment. The first contains requirements and scope finalisation activities, and ends with a quality gate of "acceptance criteria defined". The second, is build (with TDD) and the third is delivery.

Something about this feels wrong to me, though maybe I am barking up the wrong tree here (the guy who's written the presentation is very experienced in Agile). I've seen teams move from waterfall to supposed iterative, when in fact all they really do is move to incremental delivery (which was always around). I don't believe the two are the same. This is my problem. I don't know enough to be sure, but isn't introducing Agile/iterative in this way just going to mean the teams continue as before, except in smaller increments/timeboxes?? To me iterative is something else...it's a different approach, it's more flexible...yes requirements must always be defined and understood, but it's the strict timeline thing I struggle with...surely for some sprints you could start off in parallel, someone working on thrashing out exit criteria, someone else going straight into prototyping something technically the team is unsure it's able to do...I don't know. I'm just not totally comfortable with this "teensy weensy waterfall just as before" explanation/approach.

Does anyone agree with me, can anyone enlighten me further? Many thanks in anticipation.

--------------------
"Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken."


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philk10
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Reged: 01/20/05
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Re: Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls? [Re: Cies]
      #526776 - 10/24/08 02:14 AM

First question I have is what do you mean by Agile/iterative ? This was recently asked on the Agile testing mailing list and got this reply
"If we only look at definitions, then agile means to act in accordance with the values described at http://www.agileman ifesto.org/ . Iterative development would simply mean
a development process consisting of repeated cycles "

Some good reading on the subject here

--------------------
and My Blog


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JakeBrake
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Re: Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls? [Re: philk10]
      #526797 - 10/24/08 02:54 AM

Waterfall is iterative.

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Cies
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Reged: 07/11/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Gloucestershire, UK
Re: Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls? [Re: JakeBrake]
      #526815 - 10/24/08 03:40 AM

Phil that article is really good, thanks.

Jake - not according to the article, it's not.

--------------------
"Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken."


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JakeBrake
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Re: Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls? [Re: Cies]
      #526819 - 10/24/08 03:44 AM

Quote:

Jake - not according to the article, it's not.



Try this rant for clarification. There is a link within that supports my contention.


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michaeljfModerator
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Re: Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls? [Re: JakeBrake]
      #526837 - 10/24/08 04:25 AM

Ah, yeah I saw that response on the Agile Testing mailing list, and it's pretty accurate in how you can look at Agile if you want to be very spot on.

Cies, could the explanation you were given be a way to get your team to understand Agile and move from Waterfall to Agile practices? Sometimes the steps can be huge, and getting people comfortable with the process can be a way to assure that they will adapt to it, especially by making it familiar.

I've seen what you are describing also in "Agile + V" model discussions, where there are discrete breakups of phases with in the sprints - not that I agree with them and I am not in agreement at all with Agile + V. See related threads here for that. The phases you see broken out can also be conceptual, each sprint should have a portion of time dedicated to discussion of what to build and design as well as an agreement on what the Acceptance Criteria is going to be. Once that is agreed upon you do your coding and testing, TDD or what have you, and at the end you have your code and the Acceptance Tests and something to show for the effort of the sprint - I suppose you can call this delivery.

You an look at it in any way you like, I wouldn't see it as Waterfall but I like to believe that some of the other activities that go on with daily stand ups, communication, TDD and the transparency of the work being done makes this more Agile than Waterfall processes. The thing is to be all in agreement on where you are going in the sprint, to me the point I think you diverge from Agile-ism is that you think some things can be done in parallel from day 1. That's not the best way to be sure that people are not in agreement, everyone understands all the criteria and have placed in the input so the Group as a whole understands what is being built, why and how.

Are you crazy? No. It's just a different way of looking at it.

--------------------
- M

Nothing learns better than experience.

"So as I struggle with this issue I am confronted with the reality that noting is perfect."
- Unknown

Now wasting blog space at QAForums Blogs - The Lookout


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Cies
Member


Reged: 07/11/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Gloucestershire, UK
Re: Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls? [Re: michaeljf]
      #526919 - 10/24/08 07:11 AM

Quote:

Cies, could the explanation you were given be a way to get your team to understand Agile and move from Waterfall to Agile practices? Sometimes the steps can be huge, and getting people comfortable with the process can be a way to assure that they will adapt to it, especially by making it familiar.



Yes, that's exactly what the intention is. And, the exact reason I think it is dangerous!

Quote:

...to me the point I think you diverge from Agile-ism is that you think some things can be done in parallel from day 1. That's not the best way to be sure that people are not in agreement, everyone understands all the criteria and have placed in the input so the Group as a whole understands what is being built, why and how.



Do you mean, are in agreement?

Also, the example I'm thinking of is where a sprint kicked off and I began writing the test cases (exit criteria) while the devs started doing feasibility work with an external data feed that we didn't know a lot about. How is/was that wrong, Agile or otherwise?

Jake thanks for the link, I've read it when you've posted it before

--------------------
"Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken."


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michaeljfModerator
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Re: Agile/iterative = multiple mini-waterfalls? [Re: Cies]
      #527095 - 10/25/08 02:11 PM

If it lasts it could be dangerous, if its a way to get people on board I don't think its as bad as that, but to each their own.

Yes, I meant in agreement, sorry about that.

I don't see that example as being bad so long as you are in communication and that you are in tune to get your work done in time, with the data and test runs you all need.

--------------------
- M

Nothing learns better than experience.

"So as I struggle with this issue I am confronted with the reality that noting is perfect."
- Unknown

Now wasting blog space at QAForums Blogs - The Lookout


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