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Do you have any criticisms?

I've been having a hard time fitting it all together but I finally understand which parts go where and the need for me to customize to a certain degree to make them fit.

Problem is, the internet is full of rubbish. I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen: TDD vs FDD..they are 2 completely different things!

Please, help me untangle this web. Do these 3 appear to fit well:

Prince2
FDD
Agile & XP

Do you have anything you'd like to add?

  • are you looking for a general discussion on these methodologies or do you have a specific question about them? – Mark Phillips Mar 3 '11 at 17:32
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    it is not clear as to what problem or challenge you are looking to solve (rather than looking for an academic discussion on the topics). It is like asking "What about cars and trucks?" This site is full of experts who have managed successful projects. I myself manage projects with budgets of seven to eight figures, give classes at our PMI chapter and publish about project management in places like eWeek and Computerworld. – Mark Phillips Mar 3 '11 at 17:54
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    What is your 'jigsaw' supposed to do? For example, could the question be phrased as: "Which methodologies do you find most helpful for developing small software projects?" or is it more like "Where can I learn about the relative benefits of different methodologies for supporting existing software?" Note, those questions themselves would need further refinement but at least it helps narrow the scope of the question. – Mark Phillips Mar 3 '11 at 19:36
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I don't think 3 methods you mention are a perfect match.

I'm not fully sure what you mean by Agile & XP. I mean is there some other method besides XP which you want to use or was it just a clarification? Anyway, I assume the latter.

  • FDD and XP don't really conflict with each other. There are some areas which would be tricky if you decided to implement both by the book but it shouldn't be hard to adjust them to get most of both. Basically FDD tells you how you approach product development and XP tells you more how you organize work. The tricky part may be where feature-by-feature design and development meets iterations. However if you aren't orthodox feature-by-feature approach may apply to the whole workload for iteration instead of a single feature, especially when you have short iterations.

  • The main problem I see with mixing the trio is with Prince2 and FDD/XP. Prince2 deals with formal side of project management which is covered by neither FDD nor XP but in its origins Prince2 assumes more BDUF (big design up front) approach than iterative one. It means that usually in projects which use Prince2 you have more formal and more detailed design on early stage of the project as opposed to emergent design and architecture proposed by FDD. Also with XP you assume that you plan in more details at the beginning of the iteration so again design effort is distributed over the time span of the whole project.

Having said that, it's not that hard to use subset of Prince2 to deal with formal side of project management and build the product according to rules proposed to FDD/XP. It just means you will have to carefully choose what you take from Prince2 and what you leave outside your toolbox. By the way: Prince2, similarly to most formal approaches assumes you use only a subset of the method - those which are relevant for specific team. Again it is different from agile approaches where you usually use everything and even add more practices/techniques specific for the team.

As alternative option you may consider exchanging Prince2 with something more agile supported with required set of formalisms. Scrum comes as one of ideas although it may be not sufficient if you think about a project for a customer which requires very formal approach to project management.

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I do not agree with Pawel that Prince2 assumes big design up front. Prince2 is all about project governance, it doesn't tell you anything about which development method to use. But he is right that the method can be tailored to your specific needs. None of the (I admit many) templates have to be used, and lightweight (agile) artifacts can be used instead.

In fact, Prince2 works quite well with Scrum, where Scrum is used for the "Managing product delivery" process group. Likewise, as you can tailor Prince2's technical stages to allow for the FDD processes, I am sure you could do the same with XP (I've never practised XP myself, so I am not an expert ;-) ).

So the issue, in my view is not Prince2 but the combination of FDD and XP. These are both development methodologies, and combining them strictly is going to give some friction. That doesn't mean you could use one, and add some aproaches of the other. Pair programming, automated testing, refactoring ... These are not exclusive to XP.

  • +1 for pointing Prince2 flexibility, which is often forgotten. Of course you can throw out most of formalisms which are in Prince2 by default. Then the question would be: whether we still discuss Prince2 or not any more? By the way: it's very hard to discuss what standard Prince2 implementation is. However basing on the most common cases - it is very rarely used along with agile methods. My gut feeling: it takes a lot of experience in Prince2 and agile to mix them both effectively. – Pawel Brodzinski Mar 7 '11 at 8:31
  • Thanks. Does it matter much? Like you have just written in your blogpost "Scrum vs Kanban": "if something works for your team – go for it". – Stephan Mar 7 '11 at 22:56

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