Agile practices helping in emergency cases alias students delivering quality product thanks to Agile

One of my activities is also leading lessons and seminars at University of Ostrava. They are focused on modern software development, support and maintenance of complex Information systems. One of the subject is 2 semestral project focused on team work and professional software development experience. It is quite hard to start program professionaly if you don’t know the process, technologies, problem domain nor team work.

Typical risk list of such student team looks like this one:

Fact Risk Mitigation action
Not known used technology We can deliver unstable solution that would be hard to maintain due to wrong architecture Develop early technology prototype
Ask mentor for help
Use basic frameworks
Maximal unit test coverage
Pair work with experienced students
Unknown problem domain Misunderstanding of requirements can cause delivery of useless aplication that would do something else than expected Short iterations
Frequent demonstrations during and at the end of iterations
Definition of done for tasks and requirements

Because of these facts and constraints we apply basic Agile principles to get students ready soon to mitigate risks and develop what is expected. It also boosts learning and helps students to come closer to professional programming and real projects. Agile principles we apply are following:

  • Short iterations with frequent demonstration,
  • Risk driven approach with active risk mitigation, not just monitoring
  • Use case driven development and testing
  • Iteration planning and assessment led by mentors
  • Using definition of done
  • Retrospectives

Developed application to support emergency case

Developed product was “unfortunately” used in the practice immediately after testing because of huge flood in region near Ostrava in June 2010. Because local authorities as well as fire fighters appreciated the system it was spread and used also in much bigger flood in North Bohemia later that year. You can read more about this application, its success and impact on Solokapr or Ostrava university web (both only in Czech).

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