Starbucks-fueled Developer

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Agile Analysis and Planning

A week ago, my group was contacted by an extremely high-profile customer. Apparently, they are looking to migrate a monolithic J2EE application (presumed million(s) of LOC) to a .NET application, as Sun has announced that support for its Unified Development Server and Forte technologies will expire come Jan 1 2006 - at least, according to my knowledge.

The customer, from my early and brief interaction, is dangerous. They're developers and, apparently, had an active role in the development of the current system. Every time I heard "and the XYZ component, which is a SINGLETON..." my skin melted off my body...

Anyway, given the inherit complexity such an application could poses, they are looking for migration plan(s) on how such a project would be approached. The output will be a document, or several, stating that, given the recon, we suggest the following approach(es) and then the customer gets to pick which one is the prettiest, since they really, really dig architecture diagrams.

So...given these ideas, could this analysis and planning/migration document be managed under an Agile methodology? I mean, planning and analysis - which, I take as "big up-front design" - seem to be the antithesis of all that is Agile. However, since the system is so vast and - oh, yeah, we only have about a month to produce the document - there's so many unknowns that will be difficult to discover, it seems as though it could be run Agile-ly and succeed.

Personally, I believe anything and everything can be done with an Agile spin. While I am far from any stretch of "mastering" Agile methods, I try to find ways to apply it to every day problems in life...Anyway, if any one has any thoughts or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them.

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