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Re: [xml-dev] XML As Fall Guy

One way that i have seen was on a large govt project where, once it became apparant that the specification process was out of control and would probably not end, the mandarins wisely ordered an "interim" system, to be developed on YAGNI lines, with a short cycle incremental development and daily stakeholder interaction: fairly agile.

The interim system worked fine, and if the grand specification is ever both finished and up-to-date, the developer's job will be recast to "can we add this?" which looks tractable.

One feature of this 'interim' project that i was impressed with was how the stakeholders realized that the system they were building was not a kind of giant symptom database but a kind of giant product catalogue: an insight that had not come up from the pure mental specification process.


On 28/11/2013 4:19 AM, "Michael Kay" <mike@saxonica.com> wrote:
> I wonder how much better these types of projects could go if a more
> incremental (Agile) approach was taken. The beauty of XML is that if you
> set
> the systems up right it can give you amazing flexibility and power
> combined.

No one knows how to do government-style procurement in an Agile way. The only way they know is to write a 10,000 page invitation to tender, have three big consultancies spend a few million dollars each writing a 10,000 page response to it, and then choosing one of the options. By this time you are thoroughly locked into an extreme Waterfall model; moreover you have frozen your key technology choices very early in the cycle, whereas from an engineering point of view you should commit to specific products as late as possible.

I did see one project that tried to do it differently. They said "We've got a 20m budget, tell us what you can do for us with that". The suppliers spent the first 5m doing requirements analysis; it was back in Waterfall world because they still wanted a system description before choosing a supplier. They would have regarded anything else as signing a blank cheque.

Michael Kay


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