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Despite outward appearances, agile development doesn't mean a return to the days of the cowboy programmer. These techniques are just as discipline-oriented as the practices described in CMMs. But they do have a different philosophy and approach to achieve the goals of the CMMI, and can be integrated without compromising the framework.

In the '80s and '90s we saw the widespread introduction of object-oriented programming. OO didn't invalidate earlier lessons about software development, but instead built on them. In a similar manner, agile development builds on a strong base of experience that leverages earlier lessons about software development. Process groups should look at the agile methods as new flowers in the garden and should seek to help them bloom. Agile advocates should seek to gain process groups as allies to help their practices flourish. This article helps dispel some of those misconceptions and shows how agile methods can work with existing processes and process approaches such as CMMI.

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