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Re: elite methods

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  • aacockburn
    ... students have a ... exactly (one of ... proposed ... need to be ... with ... methodology? ... Yes, Larry Constantine likes to advertise that agile methods
    Message 1 of 36 , Apr 28, 2005
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      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Anita Salem" <asalem@s...>
      wrote:
      > many facilitators I see are not well versed in interviewing
      > techniques.
      > So my question is, how do we address the reality of underskilled
      > practitioners? Are we overly optimistic that anyone can be a "good"
      > facilitator? Interviewing is a specialized skill and one my
      students have a
      > very difficult time with. I can't remember where I heard it
      exactly (one of
      > the sessions from the "In Use" conference I think ) where it was
      proposed
      > that in order for agile methods to be effective, the team members
      need to be
      > highly skilled and experienced. Can agile methods work effectively
      with
      > underskilled practitioners or are they an elite development
      methodology?
      > Anita

      Yes, Larry Constantine likes to advertise that agile methods won't
      work with underskilled practitioners, but frankly, no technique works
      with underskilled practitioners. I don't think any of us here would
      assert that UCD produces fine systems with slapdash, undermotivated,
      hasty, untrained practioners --- or that ditto practioners would
      produce good systems when working in a waterfall fashion; or that
      ditto practitioners would produce good systems when working in an
      agile fashion.

      In fact it's pretty much a tautology that weak practioners produce
      weak outcomes, regardless of the process; and any successful project
      builds its success on the competent and experienced people present.
      There is no distinction available here for agile / waterfall / UCD /
      bottom-up / top-down etc.

      Following this back to our previous thread, the ethnographic clam-up
      approach requires (I am thinking) highly trained people to collect
      and examine the data. Not too suprisingly, the top-down or middle-up-
      down approach requires very sensitive (if perhaps less highly
      trained) listeners to pick up the trip-words that trigger the
      investigative questions.

      The only approach I can think of that requires less training and
      lower perceptual qualities is videotaping the first interactions of
      users with the proposed system --- I can imagine that simply putting
      that videotape in front of the even moderately open-minded developers
      would trigger all manner of discussion.

      ... but that discussion still wouldn't pick up or trigger some of the
      subtle design decisions we're interested in seeing ferreted out.


      Alistair
    • Glen B Alleman
      Alistair, Crystal has a variety of options. Others are narrower. Few are as broadly based as your approach. I m more focused on specific development method
      Message 36 of 36 , May 8, 2005
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        Alistair,

        Crystal has a variety of options. Others are narrower. Few are as broadly
        based as your approach. I'm more focused on specific development method that
        move outside their "sweet spot" leaking into other areas - off the sweet
        spot. I see this not as an issue of the method but it's application. Mis
        applied CMMI, mis applied XP, mis applied TOC.

        Glen

        -----Original Message-----
        From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of aacockburn
        Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 10:46 AM
        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [agile-usability] Re: elite methods

        I'm sure you mean "almost" everyone, Glen --- I've been researching
        and publishing on the topic of selecting methods for over a decade
        now, have a PhD, three books, a dozen articles and most of a website
        on the question of selecting a process. I'm not alone: that aspect of
        my PhD wasn't considered novel at all but rather as fully established
        in the research community; Capers Jones talks about it in his
        benchmarking book; RUP and the UP are all about that; Boehm has a
        book and articles about it, there are others.

        By this late date, the notion of a single methodology as a silver
        bullet is severely outmoded.

        Alistair

        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Glen B Alleman"
        <glen.alleman@n...> wrote:
        > Jon,
        >
        >
        >
        > The problem of deciding how to apply a processes to a problem
        domain is
        > nearly universal. Ranging from heavy to light. I've experienced
        poorly
        > applied CMMI to poorly applied XP and everything in between. No
        one seem to
        > want to approach the "improvement" process from an external point -
        as you
        > suggest - selecting the right process for the problem. I'm
        searching though
        > for the solution - none found so far. Everyone's got a silver
        bullet looking
        > for the werewolf to shoot ;>)
        >
        >
        >
        > Glen B. Alleman
        >
        > <http://www.niwotridge.com> www.niwotridge.com
        >
        > www.niwotridge.com/Blog
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > _____
        >
        > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jon Kern
        > Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 6:36 PM
        > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: elite methods
        >
        >
        >
        > i don't think there is any indication that anyone meant that all
        heavy
        > processes are to hide incompetence.
        >
        > however, i submit there are at least a few reasons for introducing
        process:
        > - because someone has a good set of steps worth repeating (good
        teams do
        > this automatically)
        > - because someone wants to ensure a set of steps are done and
        may not
        > trust the doer at knowing what to do (bureaucracies are good at
        doing this)
        >
        > i hope i left wiggle room in my original post for applying the
        right process
        > for the right reasons. my flippant remarks are intended to jolt
        people into
        > thinking if they are applying the right level of process. a
        heavyweight
        > process (such as might be applied in your NQA-1 example) applied to
        a
        > mediocre business app is probably not an effective use of resources.
        >
        > also, i have seen people conduct process steps "just because" --
        either
        > because they cannot think for themselves, or that they are dis-
        incented to
        > not follow process, or they are naive, or they do not care if they
        are
        > wasting resources (money and time).
        >
        > but, for a mission critical app, i hope the right process is
        followed... as
        > it is in almost every "hard" engineering discipline i ever worked
        within.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -- jon
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Glen B Alleman said the following on 5/6/2005 8:54 AM:
        >
        > Jon,
        >
        >
        >
        > Mission critical can be applied outside man rated as NASA uses that
        term.
        > Mission critical can be applied to a brad variety of system from
        process
        > control, to supply chain management. Pacemakers are 21CFR,
        petrochem is OSHA
        > 1910.119, rod control for a reactor is NQA-1, the ground mission
        planning
        > and dispatch for air defense has another framework.
        >
        >
        >
        > The comment (now seen a flippant) that poor developers hide behind
        high
        > ceremony struck me a uninformed about those working in the high
        ceremony
        > development envirnemnt that also use agile methods. Thy are not
        mutually
        > exclusive
        >
        >
        >
        > Glen
        >
        >
        >
        > _____
        >
        > From: <mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com>
        > agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-
        usability@yahoogroups.com] On
        > Behalf Of Jon Kern
        > Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 5:17 AM
        > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: elite methods
        >
        >
        >
        > please define mission-critical...
        > man-rated, mission critical systems are a different story.
        >
        > always attach the right level of rigor and process as needed...
        >
        > software for an embedded pacemaker is different than making an
        online
        > mortgage loan application system.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -- jon
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Glen B Alleman said the following on 5/5/2005 11:40 AM:
        >
        > As one who leads CMMI IPPD development this is likely not true in
        > practice...but simply conjecture on the part of those not
        practicing heavy
        > processes in a mission critical environment.
        >
        > Glen B Alleman
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of aacockburn
        > Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 9:35 AM
        > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [agile-usability] Re: elite methods
        >
        > At least, they will defend them because it's easier to hid :-)
        >
        >
        > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Cummins, Darin"
        > <mailto:Darin_Cummins@a...> <Darin_Cummins@a...> wrote:
        > > If you twist this one more time, does that imply that incompetent
        > > developers choose heavy processes because it's easier to hide? ;-)
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > _____
        >
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