Ana Paula of Whatever Consulting spoke this afternoon on “OutPractices: Agile Transformations of any Software Development Process”. She talked to us about a subject close to her heart – the Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) which aims at producing a customizable software process engineering framework, with exemplary process content and tools, supporting a broad variety of project types and development styles. Ana spoke in particular on how OutSystems customers can leverage the EPF library to further develop their in-house processes especially when they need to include the use of other non-OutSystems processes or methods.
First, she described the The EPF Agile Kernel – they asked “what is the minimum aspects of a process that make a method Agile?”…and came up with the idea of a Kernel which is the smallest process that you can have. Each agile-related method was broken up into small practices (from whichever method – SCRUM, XP etc) that can then be pulled together and have been made available in the EPF library.Ana spoke about how she has documented the OutSystems processes and added them to the library – called OutPractices – within the SCRUM practice library. Now people can learn about SCRUM with OutSystems guidance over it – which she believe to be very powerful as the OutSystems methods and supporting technology are based on real project experience and heuristics (and not examples about playing poker).
SCRUM roles were replaced with OutSystems roles and the OutSystems lifecycle has been replicated and documented in the EPF library.
Why is this important? Ana asked us to imagine you are in an environment where you are required use RUP and its part of an RFP you’re responding to. How will you do that as an OutSystems customer or partner? Using the EPF library – Ana suggests that the audience can now select the Use Case practice from RUP and bring that into the OutSystems method.
Imagine you find yourself required to comply with CMMI-DEV. (much laughter from the audience here…small Portuguese joke that the blogger didn’t understand!) …which is considered to be very bureaucratic and difficult to use in practice. So, what do you do? Ana suggested that you don’t try and rewrite your method to fit within CMMI – but to leverage the EPF library and OutPractices – and for example, with respect to the CMMI Project Planning /Establish Estimate Practice – just select and add a link to the scoping & sizing task!
“What matters isn’t following a method – but to deliver. Adapt the process you are working with and improve things as you go.”
Can the EPF help organizations sustain and scale agile adoption? Not if it is used to develop new process dinosaurs. But, it can help if it enables your team to ride the agile wave and experiment with one practice at a time.
Ana asks the audience to remember the Agile Process Development Manifesto:
- Scale small process up – over tailoring Big Processes Down. (Start small and add just what you need).
- Incremental practice adoption – over Full Process Adoption
- Continuous Improvement – over complete replacement (just improve what isn’t working)
- Open Process Collaboration – over closed process development (tell others when you discover a better way to do things and help the whole community advance!)
This last point seems to be the real crux behind the EPF endeavors – and BTW, blog readers – if any English speakers would like to help Ana in her work to document the Agile processes – please raise your hands! 🙂
So, here’s a question for our Blog readers – If you are using the OutSystems Agile Approach have you had to incorporate other methods as Ana described – and how did it go?