One of the biggest challenges that
agile development methods face is developers claiming to
be following the method, when in reality they aren’t,
who then run into trouble and then proceed to blame the
method which they weren’t following properly to begin
seeing this in the case of
eXtreme Programming (XP)
where hackers choose to hear only part of XP’s message
– typically that you need less documentation – but
claim to be following all of XP’s tenets.
The hackers invariably produce shoddy work and/or
produce software that doesn’t reflect the actual needs
of their users resulting in XP being unfairly blamed for
the hacker’s failure.
Ideally I would like to avoid this
problem with Agile Modeling (AM), although realistically
the best I can hope for is to define when you are (and
are not) agile modeling.
Are You Agile Modeling?
active participants in your
requirements and/or analysis modeling efforts.
requirements are welcomed and acted upon accordingly
– there is no “requirements freeze”.
are working on the highest priority requirements
prioritized by your project stakeholders,
and in turn focusing on highest risk issues as work
are taking an evolutionary (iterative and incremental) approach to
primary focus is on the
development of software, not
documentation or the models themselves.
modeling as a team where everyone’s input is
are actively trying to keep things as simple as
possible – You are using the
available to you and creating the simplest model(s)
that do the job.
discarding most, if not all, of your models as
owners make business decisions, developers make
content of your models is recognized as being
significantly more important than the
format/representation of that content.
You actively seek to
prove your models with code, because you know
that the longer you model without concrete feedback
the greater at risk you are.
When Aren’t You Agile Modeling?
goal is to produce documentation, such as a
requirements document, for sign-off by one or more
are using a case tool to specify the architecture
and/or design of your software BUT not using that
specification to generate part or all of your
customers/users have limited involvement with your
example they are involved with
of requirements, perhaps are available on a limited
basis to answer questions, and at a later date will
be involved in one or more acceptance reviews of
are focusing on a single model at a time.
Common examples are “use case modeling
sessions”, “class modeling sessions”, or
“data modeling sessions.”
The root cause of this problem is typically
“one artifact developers” such as people
specialized in data modeling or user interface
modeling – with AM generalists should be leading
are working towards a freeze of one or more of your
models – In other words you are taking a serial
are delivering models and/or documentation to
another team who will then evolve the system
other words you are “handing off” your work in a
It’s important to note that
although you may not be agile modeling, often due to
environmental circumstances beyond your control, that
you can still apply some of the practices of AM on your
just because you’re using a
plain old whiteboard (POW) to draw
sketches on doesn’t necessarily imply that you are
agile modeling, all it implies is that you’re drawing
sketches on a whiteboard.
The Object Primer 3rd Edition: Agile Model Driven
Development with UML 2 is an
important reference book for agile modelers,
describing how to develop 35
types of agile
models including all 13
UML 2 diagrams.
Furthermore, this book describes the techniques
Full Lifecycle Object Oriented Testing
(FLOOT) methodology to give you the fundamental
testing skills which you require to succeed at
agile software development. The book also
shows how to move from your agile models to
source code (Java examples are provided) as well
as how to succeed at implementation techniques
(TDD). The Object Primer also includes a
chapter overviewing the critical database
development techniques (database refactoring,
legacy analysis, and
database access coding) from my award-winning
Agile Database Techniques
Agile Modeling: Effective Practices for Extreme
Programming and the Unified Process is the seminal
book describing how agile software developers approach
documentation. It describes principles and
practices which you can tailor into your existing
software process, such as
Rational Unified Process (RUP), or the
Agile Unified Process (AUP), to streamline your
modeling and documentation efforts. Modeling and
documentation are important aspects of any software
project, including agile projects, and this book
describes in detail how to
architect, and then
design your system in an agile manner.
The Elements of UML 2.0 Style describes a collection
of standards, conventions, and
for creating effective
UML diagrams. They are based on sound, proven
software engineering principles that lead to diagrams
that are easier to understand and work with. These
conventions exist as a collection of simple, concise
guidelines that if applied consistently, represent an
important first step in increasing your productivity as
a modeler. This book is oriented towards
intermediate to advanced UML modelers, although there
are numerous examples throughout the book it would not
be a good way to learn the UML (instead, consider
The Object Primer). The book is a brief 188
pages long and is conveniently pocket-sized so it's easy
to carry around.
We actively work with clients around the world to
improve their information technology (IT) practices,
typically in the role of mentor/coach, team lead, or trainer. A full
description of what we do, and how to contact us, can be
found at Scott W.
Ambler + Associates.