A kernel of software engineering practices

Ivar Jacobson has written some recent columns for Dr Dobb’s Journal about the similarities between different development methodologies, and specifically the difference between processes and individual practices.

The thread has picked up and gain some momentum through columns by other well known industry figures such as Scott Ambler:

A key part of Ivar’s proposal is that what’s really important is not so much the overall method but the individual practices.

This is similar to Steve McConnell’s analysis,  in Code Complete Second Edition, of the improved defect removal rates of methodologies such as Extreme Programming, which are really just the expected effect of the combined individual practices.

Ivar also talks about a "kernel" of practices — activity and work patten spaces (groupings) and "alphas" (prototypical deliverables). Without going through the detail of EssUP (Ivar’s lightweight method based on this), the kernel consists of the following:

Process Area Activity Spaces
(Things to do)
Alphas
(Things to produce)
Competencies Pattern Spaces
Customer
  • Understand the Need
  • Ensure Stakeholder Satisfaction
  • Accept the System
  • Opportunity
  • Customer Representative
 
Solution
  • Specify the System
  • Shape the System
  • Implement Software
  • Test the System
  • Release the System
  • Specified System
  • Implemented System
  • Executable System
    • Test
  • Analyst
  • Developer
  • Tester
 
Endeavour
  • Establish Project
  • Steer Project
  • Support Team
  • Conclude Project
  • Team
  • Backlog
    • Task
    • Defect
    • Change
  • Project
    • Risk
  • Way of Working
  • Project Lead
  • Collaboration
  • Control
    • Feedback
    • Lifecycle
    • Measurement
    • Planning
  • Organisation

 

Different processes, e.g. EssUP, Scrum, MSF, etc, can then be mapped to this kernel of concepts.

 

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