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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Why Traceability? Can it be Agile?

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  • acockburn@aol.com
    I have to say I have always found traceability to be a waste of money. On one project (corporate IT context), we deliberately studied the cost for both
    Message 1 of 54 , Mar 10, 2004
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      I have to say I have always found traceability to be a waste of money.
       
      On one project (corporate IT context), we deliberately studied the cost for both installing a traceability tool, and the human labor involved in keeping the information up to date. The cost was so staggeringly high that the client removed the traceability requirement from the contract.
       
      What we did instead was to create coarse-grained traceability matrices from clusters of use cases to clusters of classes. They were, fortunately, inexpensive to create. As far as I know, no one ever looked at them. The system in question is still in use and being maintained 9 years later.
       
      As a result of these sorts of investigations, I challenge the usefulness of traceability.
       
      ==============================================
      Alistair Cockburn
      President, Humans and Technology

      http://alistair.cockburn.us alistair.cockburn@...
      1814 E. Fort Douglas Circle, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
      Phone: 801.582-3162            Fax: 775.416.6457

      Author of
      "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects" (1998)
      "Writing Effective Use Cases" (Jolt Productivity Award 2001)
      "Agile Software Development" (Jolt Productivity Award 2002)

      "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter,
      mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)
      ==============================================

    • Mike Beedle
      ... Brad: I would like to see a couple of working examples to really assess their value. Please don t misunderstand me, I like the idea of doing: just plain
      Message 54 of 54 , Mar 11, 2004
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        Brad Appleton wrote:
        > Mike Beedle wrote:
        >> Reversibility and traceability are great concepts but are hard to
        >> implement.
        >
        > Sure - at the level you are claiming is being asked for. Problem is
        > that's NOT what's being asked for! It IS POSSIBLE to do
        > lightweight/lean traceability. I've done it, Alistair said he's seen
        > it done. And I know of many others that done it too. No one here asked

        > for "perfect" traceability or "full" - just plain old "good enough"
        > and "barely sufficient" traceability. Alistair described one way. I
        > described another. So let's get off the "IMPOSSIBLE" kick shall we
        > because its already been disproven.

        Brad:

        I would like to see a couple of working examples to really assess
        their value.

        Please don't misunderstand me, I like the idea of doing:

        just plain old "good enough" and
        "barely sufficient" traceability.

        (That's I am trying to do with Balanced Agility with Scrum, "good
        enough"
        and "barely sufficient" Agile Software Development ;-) But
        I also think we should present the arguments as to *why*
        thorough traceability and reversibility are impossible, at least
        with our current tools and environments.

        Perhaps a good Open Source Eclipse plug-in will do for bare-bones
        traceability .... with some minimal automated "registration
        system" per class? I don't know of such a thing, unfortunately.


        NOTE: If most people are wondering why the "fireworks" are
        going off in this thread, is because it was *precisely* this kind
        of arguments about software being "traceable and reversible"
        from many artifacts that fueled the movement of Agile Software
        Development.

        Through the 90's some proponents in the industry claimed that
        their processes and tools would deliver "traceable and
        reversible software" across many artifacts, but many of us at
        the other side of the fence were asking:

        1) at what cost?
        2) with what purpose?
        3) with what benefits?

        That is a significant part of the "Agile soapbox",


        - Mike

        http://www.mikebeedle.com

        "Writing is re-writing."
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