Posts Tagged ‘Agile’

Dialogue over Diagrams

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

In thinking how Agile changes the role of an Architect, I keep thinking about the Agile Manifesto Axioms or preferences.  For the Agile Architect, I think we need to add a new one:

Dialogue over Diagrams

As with the manifesto, we’re not saying that diagrams are  no longer required.   A diagram is still worth a thousand words.  Also, what would we do with our Visio and UML Tools?

The point of Dialogue over Diagrams is not to say we don’t need diagrams.  The point is that, as Architects, we need to remember that the Diagrams are not the final objective.  Working Software [products] is the final objective.  Working software comes when there is a common understanding between owners and builders of what needs to be built and how it needs to work in order to satisfy the vision of the owner.

I believe the best and fasted way to achieve common understanding is through dialogue.  The diagrams are still necessary, but they are no longer your primary focus.  They are enablers. Read more…


Starting The Agile Architect

April 16, 2010 Leave a comment

What’s an architect to do when the team goes Agile?

The Agile Architect is a project I’ve started with with Peter Wennerstein of Icon Innovations.   The inspiration came when the leaders on the project I’m working on decided we were going Agile and sent everyone to Scrum training.   The Vision is to give guidance and encouragement to all the architects out there who want to be a valuable part of Agile projects.  I’m putting together my experience as a leader in Software Development and long time Solutions and Enterprise Architect.  I’m teaming up with Pete because of his passion and talent for communicating with images, icons and multi-media.  I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with this and hope it really helps you on your journey down the path of becoming an Agile Architect.

If you are interested in this topic, please leave a comment to encourage me in this projects.


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Agile in a Waterfall Enterprise – Agile and PMP

January 29, 2010 2 comments

If you’ve been working in software development and system implementation for large enterprises like I have, you can probably relate to the tension between knowing that Agile approaches really do have good results, but the governance processes of the enterprise are Waterfall.

I’ve recently been working with a team who have been trying to adopt Agile methods, but who rely funding from our central Project Approval Committee (PAC).  The PAC submissions and governance processes such as Information Security Certification and Architecture Certification are designed around Waterfall, not Agile.  So, we have something of an impedence mismatch.

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Maybe it’s time to apply Agile principles to Data Warehouse

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

My colleagues and I have recently been searching for a the perfect Reference Data Model for Financial Markets. The reason for the search is to establish the common data model for our enterprise so a Data Warehouse can be built that will not have to change.

Like every other bank, we already have a Data Warehouse – or two… But like most existing Data Warehouses, it does not meet all requirements and it is too difficult to change.  Thus the natural inclination is build another.

Thinking a bit differently, the existing Data Warehouse at one point probably did meet business requirements.  But, perhaps the real issue is not that the model was wrong from the start.   Rather, the need for rapid painless change was not engineered into the solution.

Enter Agile

Much of the motivation behind Agile software development methods is to accommodate change.  Change is a constant.  If we accept there will always be change and we adopt methods that mitigate the risk and cost of change in our systems, we can reduce the time we spend on Analysis and Design.  Today we spend inordinate amounts of time on Analysis and Design because we have all been taught that Change is Costly so we better get it right up front.  This places tremendous stress on Business Analysts and Architects to produce extensive documents.

In the Data Warehouse domain, change to the data model of the Data Warehouse looks extremely painful because it affects so many things.  So, naturally we aim to get the data model right up front.  In the current project I’m looking at, the immediate requirements are not so complex.  However, because we want get the data model right for all future requirements we have made the analysis task massive.

But yesterday I woke up and it (literally) dawned on me that we need to apply Agile principles to this Data Warehouse project.  But, I’ve only applied Agile to Software Development.  I really was not sure what this meant.

Agile Data Warehouse

If you’ve got a little time it doesn’t take long to find what you’re looking for.  I’d come across Scott Ambler’s writing on Agile before and good old google reminded me by bringing the Agile Modeling and Agile Best Practices for Data Warehousing essay is just what I was looking for.