Friday, March 16, 2007

History of Agile

Here is an interesting article about the history behind iterative and evolutionary processes. It is written by Craig Larman and in it he gives examples of iterative processes being used as early as the sixties by NASA!

Jez Humble had the chance to see Craig Larman doing a keynote about the subject on Agile India 2006 and the presentation is available here!

The opposite of agile processes is of course the everlasting waterfall process. The origin of the waterfall process has mostly been cited as the paper Managing the Development of Large Software Systems by Dr Winston Royce. But in fact he describes this method as "risky and invites failure" and actually recommends to "do it twice", ie a simple iterative process!

One of the major reasons for the waterfall process to get such a tight grip on software development process during the seventies and eighties was the US Defense that in standards like DoD-Std-2167 forced a waterfall process. This was later changed to a recommendation of iterative development in Mil-Std-498, as described here. (498 was later replaced by IEEE 12207.)

According to Craig's article "In hindsight, he (the 2167 author) said he would have made a strong recommendation for IID rather than the waterfall model".

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