Home > Store

Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed

eBook (Watermarked)

  • Your Price: $28.79
  • List Price: $35.99
  • Includes EPUB and PDF
  • About eBook Formats
  • This eBook includes the following formats, accessible from your Account page after purchase:

    ePub EPUB The open industry format known for its reflowable content and usability on supported mobile devices.

    Adobe Reader PDF The popular standard, used most often with the free Acrobat® Reader® software.

    This eBook requires no passwords or activation to read. We customize your eBook by discreetly watermarking it with your name, making it uniquely yours.


  • Copyright 2004
  • Pages: 304
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-265180-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-265180-6

"Being a certified bibliophile and a professional geek, I have more shelf space devoted to books on software methods than any reasonable human should possess. Balancing Agility and Discipline has a prominent place in that section of my library, because it has helped me sort through the noise and smoke of the current method wars."
--From the Foreword by Grady Booch
"This is an outstanding book on an emotionally complicated topic. I applaud the authors for the care with which they have handled the subject."
--From the Foreword by Alistair Cockburn
"The authors have done a commendable job of identifying five critical factors--personnel, criticality, size, culture, and dynamism--for creating the right balance of flexibility and structure. Their thoughtful analysis will help developers who must sort through the agile-disciplined debate, giving them guidance to create the right mix for their projects."
--From the Foreword by Arthur Pyster

Agility and discipline: These apparently opposite attributes are, in fact, complementary values in software development. Plan-driven developers must also be agile; nimble developers must also be disciplined. The key to success is finding the right balance between the two, which will vary from project to project according to the circumstances and risks involved. Developers, pulled toward opposite ends by impassioned arguments, ultimately must learn how to give each value its due in their particular situations.

Balancing Agility and Discipline sweeps aside the rhetoric, drills down to the operational core concepts, and presents a constructive approach to defining a balanced software development strategy. The authors expose the bureaucracy and stagnation that mark discipline without agility, and liken agility without discipline to unbridled and fruitless enthusiasm. Using a day in the life of two development teams and ground-breaking case studies, they illustrate the differences and similarities between agile and plan-driven methods, and show that the best development strategies have ways to combine both attributes. Their analysis is both objective and grounded, leading finally to clear and practical guidance for all software professionals--showing how to locate the sweet spot on the agility-discipline continuum for any given project.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Foreword by Grady Booch.

Foreword by Alistair Cockburn.

Foreword by Arthur Pyster.




1. Discipline, Agility, and Perplexity.

The Sources of Perplexity.

Multiple Definitions.

Distinguishing Method Use from Method Misuse.

Overgeneralization Based on the Most Visible Instances.

Claims of Universality.

Early Success Stories.

Purist Interpretations.

Clarifying Perplexity.

The Two Approaches.

Plan-Driven Methods.

Agile Methods.

Finding Middle Ground.

2. Contrasts and Home Grounds.

Application Characteristics.

Primary Goals.



Management Characteristics.

Customer Relations.

Planning and Control.

Project Communication.

Technical Characteristics.




Personnel Characteristics.





Home Grounds.


Five Critical Factors.

3. A Day in the Life.

Typical Days.

A Typical Day Using PSP/TSP.

A Typical Day Using Extreme Programming.

Crisis Days.

A Crisis Day with TSP/PSP.

A Crisis Day with XP.





4. Expanding the Home Grounds: Two Case Studies.

Using Plans to Scale Up Agile Methods: Lease Management Example.

Assumption 1: The Effort to Develop or Modify a Story Does Not Increase with Time and Story Number.

Assumption 2: Trusting People to Get Everything Done on Time Is Compatible with Fixed Schedules and Diseconomies of Scale.

Assumption 3: Simple Design and YAGNI Scale Up Easily to Large Projects.

Agile Methods Scaleup: Summing Up.

Using Agility to Streamline Plan-Driven Methods: USAF/TRW CCPDS-R Example.

Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools: CCPDS-R.

Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation: CCPDS-R.

Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation: CCPDS-R.

Responding to Change over Following a Plan: CCPDS-R.


5. Using Risk to Balance Agility and Discipline.

An Overview of the Method.

An Example Family of Applications: Agent-Based Planning Systems.

An Intermediate Application: Supply Chain Management.

Step 1: SupplyChain.com Project Risk Ratings.

Step 2: Compare the Agile and Plan-Driven Risks.

Step 4a: Individual Risk Resolution Strategies.

Step 4b: Risk-Based Strategy for SupplyChain.com System Development.

Small Application: Event Planning.

Step 1: Event Planning Project Risk Ratings.

Step 2: Compare the Agile and Plan-Driven Risks.

Steps 4a, 4b: Risk-Based Strategy for Event Planning System Development.

Very Large Application: National Information System for Crisis Management (NISCM).

Step1: NISCM Project Risk Ratings.

Step 2: Compare the Agile and Plan-Driven Risks.

Steps 3 and 4: Risk-Based Strategy for NISCM System Development.


6. Conclusions.

The Top Six Conclusions.

No Agile or Plan-Driven Method Silver Bullet.

Agile and Plan-Driven Method Home Grounds.

Future Applications Will Need Both Agility and Discipline.

Balanced Agility-Discipline Methods Are Emerging.

Build Your Method UpÑDonÕt Tailor It Down.

Focus Less on MethodsÑMore on People, Values, Communication, and Expectations Management.

What Can You Do Next about Balancing Agility and Discipline?

Steps toward Balancing Software Development Agility and Discipline.


Appendix A. Comparing the Methods.


Thumbnail Sketch.



Adaptive Software Development (ASD).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Lean Development (LD).

Thumbnail Sketch.




Thumbnail Sketch.



eXtreme Programming (XP).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Rational Unified Process (RUP).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Team Software Process (TSP).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Feature-Driven Development (FDD).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Capability Maturity Model for Software (SW-CMM).

Thumbnail Sketch.



Personal Software Process (PSP).

Thumbnail Sketch.




Thumbnail Sketch.



Method Comparison Table.

Appendix B. Manifesto for Agile Software Development.

Principles behind the Agile Manifesto.

Appendix C. Capability Maturity Models.

A Short History of CMMs.

CMM Concepts.

Using Models to Improve Processes.

Appendix D. Tools for Balancing.

D1. The Spiral Model Anchor Point Milestones.

D2. Benefits Realization Analysis and the DMR Results Chain.

Benefits Realized.

Results Chain.

D3. Schedule as an Independent Variable.

Shared Vision and Expectations Management.

Feature Prioritization.

Schedule Range Estimation.

Architecture and Core Capability Determination.

Incremental Development.

Change and Progress Monitoring and Control.

Appendix E. Empirical Information.

E1. The Cost of Change: Empirical Findings.

E2. How Much Architecting Is Enough? A COCOMO II Analysis.

E3. Experiments and Studies of Agile and Plan-Driven Methods.

Overall Distribution of Project Size.

Process Improvement.

Team Software Process and Agile Methods.

Pair Programming.

Hybrid Agile/Plan-Driven Methods.





Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020