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Imperfectly Agile: You Too Can Be Agile!

Large, Dispersed, Complex, And Political—Yet Still Agile

Imagine a program comprised of 10 projects, with 23 subprojects, and 262 committees working for 15 different companies in 12 different countries. Now imagine that you're developing very complex software, there are 7 million lines of code, with a very rich interface that supports many languages and locales used by hundred of thousands of highly critical users. Worse yet, because multiple, competing organizations are involved, your project environment can be highly political at times. Sounds pretty challenging, doesn't it?

This exactly describes the situation that the Eclipse development team ( finds itself in. Not only has this team managed to successfully deliver six major releases over the years, it has done so on time, every time, by following an agile process. If there's another team out there, particularly one in a CMM organization, which finds itself in an equally challenged environment that is equally successful, then I would love to hear about it.

Thanks to Erich Gamma, John Kellerman, and Ian Skerrett for helping me to get my facts straight for this sidebar.

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