Visibility -> Retrospection -> Adaptation

This is too funny.

On the one hand, we have George Fairbanks (who comes from the architecture world) arguing that data models are too low level to be considered architecture. On the other we have, John Owens (a leader in business process modeling), arguing for them in the context of his integrated modeling method.

My point is that it doesn’t matter whether you consider them part of the architecture or not. It doesn’t matter whether they are in YOUR definition of a good process. The rise of Agile is a response to the insistence upon adopting someone else’s approach. This resulted in misapplication and the developers became cynical.

If you don’t want to be dismissed by the Agile world, you have to start selling in smaller chunks and let the developers decide which chunks to use. For me (a process, quality, and security guy), the easy sell is some form of peer review and the effective use of passively gathered data. For John, it might very well be data modeling. It’s a bridge between the business and development domains. I’ve read the excerpt of his ebook on this subject, and it is one of the clearest explanations of the topic I’ve ever read. I’m not sure what chunk is the easiest sell for George but his ability to extract abstractions (even from domains other than software) has impressed me greatly over the years. I just don’t know how he can best share that.

What I do know is that we should stop pushing integrated anything. We should stop defending our definitions. Rather, we need to target our efforts at the primary form of the Agile feedback loop (Visibility -> Retrospection -> Adaptation) and make our case in the retrospection phase after they’ve experienced trouble by not doing enough design, requirements, or quality activities. Don’t worry about the second form of the Agile feedback loop (Plan -> Build -> Inspect -> Refactor). It is more easily expanded as we’ve seen with the introduction of Iteration Zero proposals.


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