In June 2004, Jeff Sutherland’s blog featured an article by Craig Larman and Victor Basili: Iterative and Incremental Development: A Brief History. IEEE Computer 36:6:47-56, June 2003. Having read the article, I can honestly say it is the most well researched and effective case for Agile/Iterative methods I have ever read. The article is pragmatic and driven by hard evidence, something lacking in many of the previous books and articles I’ve read.
I had the opportunity to meet with Craig at this year’s XP/Agile Universe conference in Calgary and commend him on the article. He immediately pointed out that his book, Agile & Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide, has a 50+ page section dedicated to expounding on the IEEE article. Needless to say I bought a copy on the spot and was not let down. Craig light-heartedly told me that any manager/exec who reads this book and still wants to do waterfall is either stupid or intentionally ignoring the evidence. Once thought the ultimate bastion of waterfall, the book even demonstrates that the DoD has a mandate for “evolutionary” and “spiral” software development methods (basically adaptive/iterative planning). The book heaps on the studies and empirical evidence for iterative dev; until now, I have been seeing the same old Standish Group reports sited everywhere. This book delivers the goods.
I wish I had this book a couple of years ago.