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23 February 2012

Model Storming

In this week's edition of Agile Thursday is about Agile Modelling via Scott Ambler.

Scott is an advocate of several agile analysis and design techniques and frameworks including IBM's Agile Unified Process, a variation on RUP, and has been writing, training and coaching on them for years.

He has written a book on the topic. Probably more usefully he has also written a virtual book on the topic.  That is, while his book is more structured and comprehensive, his online articles are easy to access and cut to the heart of the matter.  My recommendation: Start with the website and if you want further guidance, buy the book.

Scott introduces his book (and website) thus;
An important concept to understand about Agile Modelling (AM) is that it is not a complete software process. AM’s focus is on effective modeling and documentation. That’s it. 
It doesn’t include programming activities, although it will tell you to prove your models with code. It doesn’t include testing activities, although it will tell you to consider testability as you model. It doesn’t cover project management, system deployment, system operations, system support, or a myriad of other issues. Because AM’s focus in on a portion of the overall software process you need to use it with another, full-fledged process such as eXtreme Programming (XP), DSDM, Scrum... (etc) "
Examples of techniques Scott recommends include Storyboarding, Wire framing, Activity diagrams, Flow charts and many more.  A particularly excellent section presents a table of modelling tools, some notes on their 'agile usefulness' and links to pages with descriptions and examples.

Principles he guides his ideas with include Modelling in small increments, Model with Purpose, Embrace Change, and more. Check them out.  It's well though through and can help you understand how to improve your analysis and modelling practices no matter what development planet you live on.

Lastly, Scott also shares a bunch of typical Enterprise bad practices on a page about "Modelling Anti-Patterns" which are kind of amusing. At least to me :)

I hope the site delivers value to you frequently. I'd love to hear your feedback.