Alistair Cockburn

Humans and Technology

Agile Software Development
41 minutes, 14.1mb, recorded 2004-07-08
Alistair Cockburn had been a hardware designer and researcher for 16 years when IBM asked him to write a methodology for object-oriented projects. He's spent the last decade studying and writing about software development and learned that some of the most successful projects have the simplest processes. In 2001 he and 16 other software-development heavyweights met to discuss so-called lightweight methodologies, and one result was the Agile Software Development Manifesto, which includes four value statements: individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and responding to change over following a plan.

In this insightful interview with IT Conversations' producer Doug Kaye, Alistair explains how he uses games as a model for software projects, and how he discovered that the term "software engineering" was created on a whim in 1968. He also discusses the American and European aversion to copying: the not-invented-here (NIH) syndrome. "If you want to become a senior designer, you don't get there by finding all the components that are free on the web" even though "that's very cost effective, the customer likes it, the boss likes that, but you didn't get promoted." [ Hear clip ].

Alistair explains how Agile is different from XP (eXtreme Programming) and talks about his forthcoming book on Crystal Clear, his answer to XP.

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