January 14, 2005

New year, new project

Looks like I'll be dedicating a lot less time to blogs in the coming months. As we are pretty happy with the stage BlogBuilder is at right now, we are going to wind down the amount of work put into it for the time being.

This definately doesn't mean it is being abandoned, it just means that I've got a more important project to work on right now. If there are particularly pressing problems, they will most likely get fixed, but new features are on hold right now.

Hopefully people will continue to use Warwick Blogs and find it useful and find new ways of using it. I feel it needs a bit of time to settle down and for more usage patterns and needs to emerge.

So, onto my new project. It's kind of strange working on something new when I've spent the best part of a year working on BlogBuilder.

This project is very different, I've found myself writing more documents in the last week than I have done since I left Uni. BlogBuilder was a very organic project because we didn't really know exactly what we wanted at the start. I worked on the project in a very Agile way, preferring code over documentation.

However, my new project has some very important and tight specifications and processes. I'm going through and documenting these now and specifying interfaces up front like I've not done in a long old while. It feels quite old fashioned almost compared to the "Agile way". But it is the right way of doing things. I don't think you can really apply the code over documentation type philosophy to every project.

I was very tempted to dive in and start coding up prototypes, but resisted and with a little bit of prodding was persuaded to do it the "old fashioned way". The reason people used to and still do things like this is because when you truely know what the system is meant to do, you may as well spec it up properly. I guess the problem is that often people know what their customers want, but are way way out. That is when the rigid up front design can come back and bite you in the ass.

I'm just hoping that I really do know that this spec isn't going to change :)

- 4 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Mmm agile is like a grown-up way of doing what my UG CS friends always did – code first, design later ;-)

    What's the new project? (We'll miss you!)

    14 Jan 2005, 12:51

  2. hehe. Only difference is that we do it deliberately and know why :)

    So very kind :) But the new project is a bit hush hush. Sounds all exciting and secret, but it's really not!

    14 Jan 2005, 13:17

  3. Chris May

    Of course, having documentation doesn't stop you from being agile – the guiding principle is "just sufficient" documentation, not "none". But it does seem likely that a project like this one where the specification (or at least some of it) is fairly well fixed in advance needs less of an agile approach, since by definition it's not as likely to need to change.

    Worth noting that on Sitebuilder, (another project that elab has undertaken in a relatively "agile" way), we spent about 2 months gathering and writing requirements before we started developing code. Sometimes the agile-ness of a project takes a while to emerge.

    14 Jan 2005, 14:00

  4. John Dale

    > agile-ness

    Agility, surely?

    14 Jan 2005, 14:45

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