Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Agile modeling is one of the most trusted development methodologies when it comes to producing an effective documentation and software system. If described at a high level, it comprises of all the best practices, best principles and values required for modeling a high quality software product (this description may seem a bit hyperbolic, but it tends to be true for the most part). These practices are lightweight in implementation, with a lot of flexibility. Although, Agile Modeling is a set of principles and therefore on its own, it is of no use. It has to be mixed with other fuller technologies such as rational unified process, extreme programming, and adaptive software development, scrum and so on. This process enables us to develop software that satisfies all of our requirements. Agile modeling is governed by the following values. Some of these values are extended from extreme programming:
- Communication: All the stakeholders should maintain an effective communication between them.
- Simplicity: Developers should strive to develop the simplest solution possible meeting all the requirements.
- Humility: As a programmer, you should have a sense of humility that you may not know everything and you should allow others to add value to your ideas.
- Feedback: There should be a mechanism for obtaining feedback early in every stage of development.
- Courage: You should have courage to make decisions and stay firm.
The principles on which the Agile Modeling is based are defined by the agile manifesto. Two of these principles are to assume simplicity and embrace changes. Assuming simplicity makes it easy to design software. You are able to cut out unnecessary secondary requirements and focus on the primary needs, thereby reducing the complexity. When you embrace the fact that there will be changes in the requirements, it adds flexibility to your project. As a result, you can develop more flexible projects that can adapt to the changes in requirements, and other changes, over time.
The software evolves in increments. You should know that it is this incremental behavior that maintains agility of the system. The requirements are ever changing and so there should be rapid feedback mechanism in place through which early feedback can be obtained. With this early feedback it becomes easy for you to ensure that your system is fulfilling all the needs. The modeling should be done with a purpose i.e., if you don’t understand the purpose of your project, its audience or its environment you should avoid working on it unless you are pretty confident.
It is always wise to have a contingency plan. Therefore, it’s good to have multiple models on standby. There can be a situation in which your primary model might fail, the standby models will provide a back up. One thing worth noting is that agile models are not just mere documentation; they are light weight realizations of your system’s purpose. Once the purpose is fulfilled, the models are discarded.
One belief of agile developers is that representation is less important than the content. It is the content that matters. Also there are a number of ways in which the same content can be represented. Focus should be maintained on quality work because sloppy work is not valued anywhere. Also adapting to the principles of agile modeling for meeting the environment needs is important. Modeling in an agile manner requires practice. Agile modeling can be applied through various practices. You have to pick the most appropriate one for your project. However there are few fundamental practices that are always important for success of an agile model:
> Parallel creation of several models.
> Application of the right software artifacts depending up on the situation.
> Moving forward through continuous iteration.One word of caution though! These models are just an abstract representation of the actual systems and therefore cannot be accurate.