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Dr. Dobb's Agile Newsletter

Book Review: Agility and Discipline Made Easy

Many organizations want to be effective and streamlined at software development, hence agile approaches are attractive to them. At the same time the realities of modern regulatory requirements and the need for effective IT governance make the Unified Process (UP) attractive to organizations. These requirements don't have to be contradictory, as long as you're willing to take an agile approach to the UP?

The UP can be agile? Preposterous you say? Absolutely not. In Agility and Discipline Made Easy, Per Kroll and Bruce MacIsaac, the manager and technical lead of the UP content team at IBM respectively, describe exactly how to be agile with the UP. The book presents a collection of 20 practices, such as Embrace and Manage Change, Understand the Domain, Describe Requirements from the User Perspective, and Organize Around the Architecture, which form the heart of an agile instantiation of the Unified Process. Each practice is presented in pattern format, with a description of the problem which it addresses and how to apply the practice to varying levels of degree. The latter feature is what I find most interesting, Kroll and MacIsaac provide an easy tailoring mechanism for you to adopt the practices in a manner which reflects your situation. Because every project team is different, and because they face different situations, they're going to need their own "flavor" of the UP.

Another interesting feature, perhaps worth the price of the book all by itself, is the discussion of the Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) and the Open UP, an open source version of the UP. EPF and Open UP together represent a new vision for the Unified Process: the UP is now being developed by the people, for the people. Together we can make the UP as agile as we wish. The practices described in this book provide the guidance, the EPF the tool, and the Open UP the actual means. This is something all developers should start paying attention to.

Agility and Discipline Made Easy: Practices from OpenUP and RUP
By Per Kroll and Bruce MacIsaac
Addison Wesley, 2006

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