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Adaptive Software Development: A Collaborative Approach to Managing Complex Systems

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Adaptive Software Development: A Collaborative Approach to Managing Complex Systems

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  • Copyright 2014
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-348946-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-348946-0

This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2000).

Winner of the 2001 Software Development Jolt Product Excellence Award

This innovative text offers a practical, realistic approach to managing high-speed, high-change software development projects. Consultant James A. Highsmith shows readers how to increase collaboration and adapt to uncertainty.

Many organizations start high-speed, high-change projects without knowing how to do them–and even worse, without knowing they don’t know. Successful completion of these projects is often at the expense of the project team.

Adaptive Software Development emphasizes an adaptive, collaborative approach to software development. The concepts allow developers to “scale-up” rapid application development and extreme programming approaches for use on larger, more complex projects.

The four goals of the book are to 

  • support an adaptive culture or mindset, in which change and uncertainty are assumed to be the natural state–not a false expectation of order
  • introduce frameworks to guide the iterative process of managing change
  • institute collaboration, the interaction of people on three levels: interpersonal, cultural, and structural
  • add rigor and discipline to the RAD approach, making it scalable to the uncertainty and complexity of real-life undertakings

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Why Even Good Managers Cause Projects to Fail

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 3 and Index)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv

Permissions Acknowledgments xvii

Foreword xxi

Preface xxiii

Introduction xxix


Part 1 1

Chapter 1: Software Ascents 3

A Historical Perspective 4

A Rebirth in World View 9

Components of Adaptive Software Development 14

The Road Ahead 23

Summary 24

Chapter 2: Thriving at the Edge of Chaos 27

People as Agents 29

Emergence and the Flocking of Boids 31

The Adaptive Development Model 37

Speculate 42

Collaborate 45

Learn 45

Working in a Complex Environment 46

Summary 49

Part 2 51

Chapter 3: The Project Mission 53

Identify the Mission 55

Create Mission Artifacts 59

Share Mission Values 71

Focus on Results 77

Summary 79

Chapter 4: Planning Adaptive Development Cycles 81

Characteristics of Adaptive Cycles 83

Adaptive Planning Techniques 90

A Hypothetical Cycle Example 103

The Evolving World of Components 110

Summary 111

Chapter 5: Great Groups and the Ability to Collaborate 113

Barriers to Collaboration   115

The Essence of Great Groups   117

Using Complexity Concepts to Improve Collaboration 120

Building Collaborative Groups 126

Joint Application Development 135

Stable Change 140

Summary 141

Chapter 6: Learning: Models, Techniques, and Cycle Review Practices 143

What Is “Learning”? 144

Senge’s Learning Model 147

A CAS Learning Model 149

Learning Techniques   154

Customer Focus-Group Reviews   156

Software Inspections 167

Project Postmortems 171

Summary 174

Part 3 177


Chapter 7: Why Even Good Managers Cause Projects to Fail 179

Disruptive Technologies 180

High Change 182

No Silver Bullet 185

Are Organizations True Complex Adaptive Systems? 188

Requisite Variety 190

Project Ecosystems 190

Simplicity and Complexity 199

Summary 200

Chapter 8: Adaptive Management 202

The Adaptive (Leadership-Collaboration) Management Model 205

Creating an Adaptive Culture 213

The Progression from Process to Pattern 223

Poised at the Edge of Chaos 232

Summary 233

Chapter 9: Workstate Life Cycle Management 235

Breaking the Workflow Mindset 239

The Workstate of a Component 241

Constructing an Advanced Adaptive Life Cycle 250

Managing Component Rigor 255

Managing Workflow in an Adaptive Environment 258

Summary 259

Chapter 10: Structural Collaboration 261

The Critical Distinction Between Content and Context 264

Collaboration Services and Tools 268

Collaboration and Emergence 281

Eight Guidelines for Applying Rigor to Project Work 289

Summary 292

Chapter 11: Managing Project Time Cycles 294

A Project Management Model 295

Initiate the Project 296

Plan the Project 301

Manage the Project 311

Close the Project 319

Summary 319

Chapter 12: Dawdling, McLuhan, and Thin Air 321

Dawdling 322

McLuhan 323

Organizational Growth 326

Surviving in Thin Air 331

Bibliography 333

Index 349


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