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    A D V E R T I S E M E N T



    Home » Agile Testing » Agile methods and method tailoring

    Agile methods and method tailoring


    In the literature, different terms refer to the notion of method adaptation, including ‘method tailoring’, ‘method fragment adaptation’ and ‘situational method engineering’. Method tailoring is defined as:

    A process or capability in which human agents through responsive changes in, and dynamic interplays between contexts, intentions, and method fragments determine a system development approach for a specific project situation.

    Potentially, almost all agile methods are suitable for method tailoring. Even the DSDM method is being used for this purpose and has been successfully tailored in a CMM context. Situation-appropriateness can be considered as a distinguishing characteristic between agile methods and traditional software development methods, with the latter being relatively much more rigid and prescriptive. The practical implication is that agile methods allow project teams to adapt working practices according to the needs of individual projects. Practices are concrete activities and products which are part of a method framework. At a more extreme level, the philosophy behind the method, consisting of a number of principles, could be adapted (Aydin, 2004).

    In the case of XP the need for method adaptation is made explicit. One of the fundamental ideas of XP is that there is no process that fits every project as such, but rather practices should be tailored to the needs of individual projects. There are also no experience reports in which all the XP practices have been adopted. Instead, a partial adoption of XP practices, as suggested by Beck, has been reported on several occasions.

    A distinction can be made between static method adaptation and dynamic method adaptation. The key assumption behind static method adaptation is that the project context is given at the start of a project and remains fixed during project execution. The result is a static definition of the project context. Given such a definition, route maps can be used in order to determine which structured method fragments should be used for that particular project, based on predefined sets of criteria. Dynamic method adaptation, in contrast, assumes that projects are situated in an emergent context. An emergent context implies that a project has to deal with emergent factors that affect relevant conditions but are not predictable. This also means that a project context is not fixed, but changing during project execution. In such a case prescriptive route maps are not appropriate. The practical implication of dynamic method adaptation is that project managers often have to modify structured fragments or even innovate new fragments, during the execution of a project (Aydin et al, 2005).


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