The Role of the Agile Architect

We’re Agile, we don’t need no stinkin’ architects!

It would seem that Agile principles are in direct conflict with a traditional software architect role — in an agile project, where the creation of working, tested code trumps everything else, nothing separates architecture from design and implementation. They are all wrapped up together in the practices we use to produce the code.  Instead of traditional documents and diagrams, the architecture is going to be exposed through the software itself…

So what does an Architect do in an architecture-antagonistic TDD/Agile/XP shop?

Mark J. Balbes, PhD recently shared his experiences as an Agile Architect, and it was so compelling we just had to share.

Architecture Is a Frame of Mind

To Mark, architecture is a frame of mind. There is no room for an “ivory tower” architect that sits at a desk creating diagrams and making architectural rules for development teams to follow. Agile development favors person-to-person communication over written documentation. If you’re an agile architect, the best place to be is in the war room with the development team, working alongside them every day.

The architect’s role, then, is not to dictate to the team, but rather to guide, mentor and cajole the team in the right direction.

The War Room Is Where It’s At

The hustle and bustle of development is exciting and provides almost everything Mark needs to do his job. In the war room, Mark can listen to what is going on with the team, shepherd the team to keep the software development moving in the right direction and mentor team members on the concepts they may not be familiar with. Continue reading “The Role of the Agile Architect”

Agile Adoption Growing in India – What about the rest of Asia?

ThoughtWorks recently published a new survey about the “Agile Adoption in India – Survey 2011” carried out earlier this year in partnership with CIOL to understand the Agile adoption trends in business and IT in India.

The survey captured responses from 770 IT practitioners and executives from 330 organisations across the country.

The survey results provided some key insights into Agile adoption trends in India.

Most organisations following the Agile methodology experienced significantly faster time-to-market of 68%, with 68% more adaptability to changing requirements from clients and improved IT productivity and quality, which led to a better ROI of 60%, and an increased project visibility of 60%. 

Key areas of concern when adopting Agile included internal IT opposition (53%) followed by insufficient expertise, in both coaching and leadership (41%) and difficulty in finding engineering talent (36%).
Of the respondents, 39% had moderate experience working on Agile practices, while 14% affirmed being experts; 84% who were early champions of Agile belonged to the management and executive level, while 44% worked in organisations using Agile practices in some projects.
It was interesting to note that the maximum number of respondents came from Indian and foreign MNCs.
“The results showed that progress towards Agile is being made, but that adoption must be carefully managed to introduce and embed all relevant practices, otherwise anticipated benefits might not be realised.” – Sudhir Tiwari, Managing Director, ThoughtWorks India.
So tell us, ThoughtWorks, what about countries like Japan, Korea, and China??? I wanna know!

[HT: ThoughtWorks]

Lean Agile in Construction Projects – 9/11/11 – 10 Years Later

I spent 2 fulfilling hours watching Discovery Channel‘s show on building the new Tower 1 of the World Trade Center called “Rising.” The commercial free special was especially poignant because of the many stories of individuals effected by the 9/11/2011 twin towers falling, and their calling to help re-build Ground Zero.

“The whole world is looking at us and our response to the tragedy.”

Essentially, the story revolved around the contruction of Tower 1 and the goal of building it up to 1000 feet  before 9/11/2011 (1776 feet at completion in 2013).

  • They have to build 1 floor per week. – Sounds perfect for iterative development...
  • 8 different construction contractor gangs work on every floor. – Team dependencies...
  • The Iron Workers start with the work, led by Mike and Tommy from the Raising Gang and the Mohawk Indians who have been building the New York skyline since the 1880’s.
  • Steve Plate, the Director of WTC Construction, oversees all of the construction. He lost 84 co-workers on 9/11/11. – He is the Uber Product Owner.

“Failure is not an option.” – Steve Plate

While watching this TV special, I absolutely had to open up my laptop and take notes (am I an Agile-nut or what)? My thoughts, through the entire show were:

“I want to see how they built this thing! I want to know if they took an Agile/Lean approach!!!”

After watching the entire special, they had not fully revealed their build process, so I decided to do some research on whether Agile and Lean techniques work in construction projects. I did:

“To be agile an enterprise or project must be structured appropriately to proactively and quickly adapt to change, seizing such opportunities to enhance value outcomes. It should be noted here that ‘lean construction’ contains some aspects of both lean and agile production and the ‘Last Planner’ method (Ballard, 2000) can even be seen as partially agile. An alternative and interesting view of merging lean and agile techniques (‘leagile’) has been proffered (Naim and Barlow, 2003); however, this only considers the ‘pull’ nature of agile customer demand on the lean construction supply chain and does not embrace APM holistically.” – Robert Owen, Lauri Koskela, Guilherme Henrich and Ricardo Codinhoto on “Is Agile Project Management Applicable to Construction?”

So, does Agile and Lean work in Construction Projects? Continue reading “Lean Agile in Construction Projects – 9/11/11 – 10 Years Later”

Retrospective 47 – Gotta Love Them Tools



[Tool Review] – Concept Board – Next Level Design Sharing

We here at Agile Scout love us some design and Agile. We talk a lot about how design and Agile can work:

Not only that we love how developers are creating design apps that make it easier for teams to collaborate:

  • [Tool Review] – Wirify – Make a webpage a wireframe
  • [Tool Review] – GoMockingBird – A light wireframe tool to put web-centric wireframes together quickly
  • [Tool Review] – CageApp – Design sharing made easy
  • [Tool Review] – Lucid Chart – Online Diagramming made easy
  • Or go with a regular design pad – Yep. Pen and Paper version.
  • How about turning a wall into a full-on whiteboard. Use Idea Paint!

Well here’s something for Agile developers and designers!

[Enter]: Conceptboard A brand new (free) cloud app for visual collaboration *Agile Scout likes!

Conceboard offers a blank work space (like a whiteboard) on which you can put designs, pictures or documents (pdf, ms office). Or you just start to scribble (great for mind maps and brainstorming). With the comment tool you can place annotations directly at your designs or concepts.

Their distinctive feature is real time collaboration.

Teams can work at the same time on a board. Even on the iPad. There is also a great presentations mode for showing your work to a customer, coworker or friend. Conceptboard offers a typical, simple interface for the online feedback tools, in order to collect comments and remarks at one central location. This central location is the board which is easily accessed by all participants via a browser; in other words, the current status of the draft and all the participants’ opinions are available to everyone at all times. The feedback in the Conceptboard can consist of adding text, or scribbles and small sketches, or even adding other files and screenshots to the same board.


But before we continue, we had to let you know that all AgileScout readers get 20% off a premium account! Thanks to Roman for this awesome perk.

Just use the coupon code “agilescout”


Not only that, for the we will choose 3 random WINNERS  who want to try out the design app get a 6 month license for FREE! 

Just comment and let us know how you’d use this app for your personal or business use!

What I loved about this tool is it’s fluid and easy to use. All about the simplicity! Adding and uploading documents was a breeze, I was even able to add screenshots directly to it. 🙂 Continue reading “[Tool Review] – Concept Board – Next Level Design Sharing”