There's no doubt that agile software development methodologies have been a boon to application developer productivity. But like most cultural revolutions, there is a tendency to want to get rid of everything and anything that reminds people of the old regime.
As a result, a lot of IT organizations that have embraced agile development are suffering right now from a lack of discipline. The challenge is how to maintain the enthusiasm for agile development while reintroducing some management structure in the least obtrusive way possible.
That's the thinking, says Mike Jones, agile development evangelist for OutSystems, that went into the development of Agile Platform, an environment designed to speed the development of custom Web applications. Jones says one of the things that OutSystems brings to the agile table is the ability to easily model the application development process and then compare and evaluate the potential impact of code changes to the overall model.
Jones says the Agile Platform essentially interrogates the proposed changes and automatically adjusts the model. If those changes result in something that might derail the specified project goals, a notification is automatically sent to the developer. The developer can then choose to adjust the proposed changes or contact the overall project manager to work out a solution.
The nice thing about that approach is that it doesn't require the project manager to run roughshod over the developers every time there is a change to the application.
There's never been any love lost between developers and project managers. But the fact remains that application lifecycle management needs to be done. The only challenge is finding a way that gets the developers to do it themselves.