Scrum (Rugby): is a method of restarting play in rugby football that involves players packing closely together with their heads down and attempting to gain possession of the ball and deliver it further up the filed
Scrum (SW): framework to support teams in complex product development. Scrum consists of Scrum Teams and their associated roles
The metaphor SCRUM in SW: A cohesive self contained group of SW developers (players) gains possession of the ball an transport it further up the field (a product deliverable/increment). The group as a whole is responsible for the result, but are free to choose the best strategy to reach the target.
SCRUM is an Agile methodology. The philosophy of Agile is summed up in the Agile manifesto.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Thus Agile takes into account the reality of most SW project: The problem to be solved is very often not understood beforehand. The aquiring of the this knowledge is and ongoing adaptive process. Thus the SW development process must also be adaptive.
The problem with Agile is that although it can dramatically improve SW productivity and quality, the bottleneck is very often in other parts of the value chain for instance in production and deployment.
Thus was born DevOPs (Development + Operations). DevOs is the same Agile principles applied to the whole value chain from concept to cash. It is a natural complement and extension of Agile.
In Addition there have been developments in industry the last decade which has dramatically changed the landscape in SW development. In particular cloud computing provided by large companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft as well as virtualization SW such as Docker.
An introduction to Scrum and Dev-ops is given in the Videos below.
The main challenge, in particular with large SW project is complexity. As the complexity increases it becomes increasingly more difficult to verify the software, and they number of ways things ways can go wring rises exponentially. Fortunately there is a golden bullet. But before I reveal the secret I would like to review why things go wrong
The list is based on my almost 20 years experience on various project. Its applicability is in my opinion not limited to SW, however SW will be the focus here,
How Companies fails with SW
Failing to view themselves as a SW company when they should
Fundamental principles in SW development not implemented
Pushing rapid progress in the start of a project and postponing to implement an adequate test regime.
Progress is rapid in the beginning and everybody is but the fast progress normally come at the cost of buildup of technical debt. The total cost of the project increases dramatically.
Lack of version control and configuration management
Stuff that worked before stops working and nobody knows why
No common code base for your company core SW
Several similar project with “almost” similar code where “resuse” is implemented as “copy and paste”. Combined with lack of version control this constitutes a maintenance nightmare.
Lack of a common strategy for SW developed.
Lack of a proper regime for regression testing.
Nobody dares to touch the code and fix bugs because one has no control of the consequences. The risk of introducing new bugs is too big.
Lack of documentation.
Get the right people for the job: This is number one on my list and an absolute requirement. If you hire the wrong people, the changes for success i very slim. There are no remedy for lack of ability. To find the right people you will need somebody who can ask the right question during an interview. Embedded Consulting can assist as a neutral 3rd party to assess your candidates.
Implement a SW development regime that takes into account the reality of SW development: The requirements of a complex SW system is rarely known in advance. This is why a waterfall model is doomed to fail. During the last decade or so there are methodologies that have evolve which takes this fact into account
Whereas Agile focuses mainly on SW development, DevOps takes same principles and applies them to the whole value chain. DevOps is an extension and a complement to Agile which as taken the industry by storm. This is for one simple reason, it dramatically increase bot production and customer satisfaction
You can read more about Agile and DevOps in this article.