Thursday, 10 February 2011

Agile Problem areas that pain developers and testers

The Agile methodology works efficiently and effectively for many organizations’ development teams.

However, this methodology does have problems that affect
Team’s abilities to develop, test, and deploy in an efficient
Manner.  In this Tip Guide, readers will hear about some of
The common pain points and problem areas developers and
Testers face with an agile methodology.

By: Jan Stafford
The long laundry list of software development pros’ problems with the Agile
Methodology includes inadequate training, poor leadership, and rigid adherence
to Agile principles that don’t fit the project, and more. That said, there are
Agile problem areas that are slammed more often than these, including
required meetings, inadequate documentation and issues related to short

Need for speed crimps Agile documentation Some people think that Agile calls for doing hardly any documentation. They complain that they can’t give the kinds of reports they used to give, calling
Agile reports ―Cragile -- or crappy Agile – or Scrum butt.

That’s the phoniest belief about Agile I’ve ever heard, said Big Visible
Solutions Agile coach Mike Dwyer. Agile entails doing documentation that
has value, he said, not ―your earned-value estimated nonsense or spending
six weeks writing a proposal to prove that you have done something, when
all that you’ve done for the past six weeks is write a presentation.
The problem for developers, however, is that there’s little time in Agile’s
Short-iteration scheme to write enough documentation, development pros
told us. Iteration cycles are every three weeks, ―boom, boom, boom, and it’s
hard to fit doing documentation into that cycle, said Huckleberry Carignan,
lead QA engineer at Vistaprint, a print services provider.

Veteran software tester Chris York agreed, saying he has never seen
managers call for adequate documentation in Agile projects. They ask for
concise, but not complete documentation. That means testers are left with
short pieces of stories they have to try to put together, ―It’s nearly
Impossible, said York. ―We always got concise, but we never got complete,
documentation. There’s nothing that really tells you how things work.

Developers grump about Agile meetings
Meetings are a cornerstone of the Agile methodologies and a thorn in the
side of some developers and testers. Known as daily stand-ups, daily
Scrums and other names, Agile meetings often draw the most heated
criticism of all Agile practices.

Kern hears more complaints about Agile meetings being done poorly than
anything else. ―Usually, when you dig deeper, it’s because the meetings are
like dumb status meetings; just like the same old same olds, he said.
Some tools and/or practices used in Agile meetings seem demeaning and
infantile to some participants. Complaints center on having to stand; huddles;
the use of talking sticks or cards; and dollar penalties for infractions like
sitting, drinking coffee, speaking out of turn, etc...

York recalled of being in one Agile manager’s meetings. ―You held a Kush
ball when you spoke. The manager wanted us to throw the ball to each other.
Somebody threw the Kush ball and hit the new projector. Now suddenly the
Kush ball was no longer being thrown. It felt like grade school.

Distributed development teams are another challenge related to Agile’s focus
on meetings. Making Agile meetings and Agile’s reliance on constant
communication work is difficult for global development teams, said Carignan.
Having the communication smoothly enough in a global environment is hard,
especially with time zone differences, Carignan explained. If we’re in
Lexington, Mass., and we’re trying to work together with people in Venlo,
Netherlands and Switzerland and Australia, it is pretty difficult to get that
communication smoothly to work in Agile method.

On the other hand, veteran software tester Chris McMahon has worked in
distributed Agile teams that succeeded in communicating well. Those teams
mixed written and voice communication, using multi-channel real-time chat
applications, voice-over-IP, wikis, IM and remote workflow tools like defect

Kern has been in many good meetings, ones that went beyond being simple
status reports to identifying obstacles and ways to remove them. Those
meeting leaders and participants succeeded in getting people on the same
page and making plans; gaining consensus on each person’s role in the plan;
creating contingency plans and so on.

Estimates for iterations not based on reality
Requirement goals or stories must be realistic and accurate, or required
features don’t get produced in an iteration, said Scott Barber. The result is
usually recriminations, project slowdowns and technical debt.
Typically, iterations are two-to-three weeks long. That quick delivery of
features is very attractive to businesses and is seen as a main reason to use
Agile instead of waterfall and other development methodologies. Focus too
intently on that one aspect of Agile and forego others at your peril.
York has seem missed estimates kill projects. ―You have to be dead on with
your estimates otherwise the whole thing is screwed up, he said. ―There’s
not enough time in the next iteration or the next to catch up when a goal is
missed. He’s seen estimates being way off the mark in three Agile projects.
In those cases, York said, at the very end, the project manager cut out what
didn’t get done and then claimed it all got done. The result was debilitating
technical debt.
If you don’t get everything done in one iteration, you have to change your
plan and go back and fix things before technical debt builds up, 
Software test veteran David Christiansen in his article, How to deal with
iteration issues in Agile.
An even better approach is not planning too far in advance, said Crispin. Her
Agile team avoids missed estimates by estimating only a sprint or two in
advance. This gives them the ability to switch priorities very fast, to be very
Agile’s short iterations lead to burn-out and mistakes
Business managers love short iterations, but they wear people out,
developers told us.
Management is getting away with short iterations today because of the
recession, said York. ―People are going to burn out and start leaving. And as
soon as the economy picks up, people are going to start switching jobs
because they’re tired of being pushed to the limit.
Dwyer sees testers feeling the pinch of short iterations the most, largely
because they’re not allowed into a process earlier. Carignan agreed, noting
that the expectation is often for test and QA teams to get their work done in
the last eight days of a three-week iteration, a time when testing and
production is happening almost simultaneously.
A special  Thanks to "searchsoftwarequality".

Now people are Thinking Agile process as Frygile process 

But all of us should look into the more positive side and overcome above discussed small problems...Then the SDLC will benefited in all means.


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