Agility is about changing rapidly and therefore a truly agile project or organization should accommodate changes more easily. Consequently, improvements in agility are best measured by gauging the cost-of-change trends in software baselines. Improvements in these change trends are best achieved when integration testing largely precedes unit testing.
A well-accepted tenet of software engineering governance states, “The later you are in the life cycle, the more expensive things are to fix.” This iron law, an artifact of a waterfall culture, should not apply if you have transformed to agile software delivery with a well-architected system. Economic governance, a steering leadership style and “integration-first” priorities can realize breakthrough economic outcomes. You can release your teams from playing defense, mired in late scrap and rework, and unleash them to play offense, through more content, quality or timeliness. Measurably improving agility translates into economic advantage.
These bold assertions are the subject of my keynote on Day 1 of Innovate 2011. A provocative treatment of these topics is available in a paper published by the International Journal of Software Informatica in April 2011.
About the author:
Walker Royce is the Chief Software Economist in IBM Software Group. He is the author of three books: Eureka! Discover and enjoy the hidden power of the English language (Morgan James, 2011), The Economics of Software Development (Addison Wesley, 2009) and Software Project Management, A Unified Framework (Addison Wesley, 1998). He worked his first 16 years at TRW as a system engineer, architect, project manager and TRW Technical fellow. In 1994 Walker joined Rational and built the Rational services organization: a worldwide team of senior subject matter experts in software engineering and productivity improvement. Learn more about Walker on his Rational thought leadership page.