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October 29, 2008


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Ian Buchanan

The author's statement about enterprise production environments is a bit overstated. Namely, there are many large tech and telecommunications companies in the Fortune 500 who have been very successful at frequent updates of production systems, sometimes updating them as often as multiple times a day. Of course, these updates are not "cavilier". The disciplines of automated testing and continuous integration help insure the impacts are well known before the change is made.

But, Stan, you are also right to point out that continuous delivery can mean different things for different people. Delivery may not mean full deployment.

S. Kishore Kumar

Thanks for a concrete example of a Agile methodology in practice. A quick study of you example helps position Agile methodologies better:

Borland products are "by developers for developers". It's your customers who produce software "by developers for business". Hence you are one removed from business users. (Your customers' experiences with Agile would be more relevant to my context!)

Given this characterization, it is possible for you to make alpha release and still "satisfy customers" (i.e. they feel happy they are getting a sneak preview).

In the case of software "by developers for business", alpha releases do not garner too many credits. Business users are tough cookies. If I claim to make bi-monthly releases they have to be production releases and not alpha. This is where the claims of Agile Methodists fall short of reality for me. I cannot "satisfy customers" with bi-monthly alpha releases.

I myself have made "feeler" releases to business during latter stages of a waterfall (or at the end of 3-4 month iterations). And received valuable feedback. But I don't do this every two weeks! They just don't have time to look at it. Remember, they have a business to attend to!

If this Commandment were modified to read "Our highest priority is to solicit customer feedback through early and continuous delivery of valuable software." then it becomes somewhat more realistic.

It is phrase "satisfy customers" that rings hollow. With alpha releases you are not satisfying customers; you are only covering all your bases.

Stan Taylor


Thanks for commenting here. Before I saw your comment here, I posted a comment to your blog. Incidentally, my comment addresses your characterization of Borland's software as 'by developers for developers.' Please see my comment on your blog post for the details: http://advanceduml.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/frequent-releases-of-valuable-software/#comment-66

I'll post a longer reply here in a future blog post.

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