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Kirk is a software developer who has filled most roles on the software developer team. He is the author of Java Design: Objects, UML, and Process (Addison-Wesley, 2002) and he contributed to No Fluff Just Stuff 2006 Anthology (Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2006). His most recent book, Java Application Architecture: Modularity Patterns with Examples Using OSGi was published in 2012. Kirk is a DZone Zone Leader and has posted 77 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Grass Roots Agile

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RTF Strategy

Choosing the correct tools has a tremendous impact on a teams ability to remain agile. Agile tools are testable, non-invasive, easy to use, flexible, and lightweight. As RTF requires continuous measurement of automated acceptance tests, measuring RTF requires a tool. A few such tools exist in the open source space.

FitNesse is a testing tool, wiki, and web server all rolled up into one. FitNesse allows project team members to
collaboratively define acceptance tests by creating tables on web pages using wiki markup. FitNesse wiki pages integrate with test fixtures that invoke application code, making FitNesse a testing tool that doesn’t rely on web based testing, but does require test fixtures that have the ability to directly invoke application code.

Selenium simulates the user by executing its tests directly in a browser. SeleniumIDE is a plug-in for FireFox that allows you to record test scripts. Scripts can be included on an HTML suite page using Selenium Core, or converted to Java, C#, Perl, Python, or Ruby for inclusion in an xUnit style test case using Selenium Remote Control.

Both FitNesse and Selenium are relatively agile tools. FitNesse does require running the FitNesse server, as well as test fixtures that can interact directly with the code being tested, so the test code must be deployed with the application under test. Selenium Core comes with the same restrictions, but Selenium Remote Control does not. Instead, Selenium Remote Control provides a Selenium Server that is run and communicates with the browser via AJAX, allowing you to test a web application in a very non-invasive style.


In 1994, Standish Group published the original CHAOS report. The top three impediments to project success were lack of user input, incomplete requirements and specifications, and changing requirements and specifications. Recent feedback indicates similar problems exist today, proving that attempts to stabilize requirements early in the lifecycle cannot and will not work.

Software requirements will always change, and it is our job to deal with it. Eventually, all change leads back to the source code. We must nurture and grow a resilient codebase. We must adopt practices that promote early and frequent discovery. We must adjust our attitude to embrace change. It is our professional responsibility to lead the effort toward a better, more satisfying way of creating software. The only guarantee in life is change. If we do not assume this professional responsibility, someone else will.


Published at DZone with permission of its author, Kirk Knoernschild.


Sergiu Ivasenco replied on Sun, 2009/02/01 - 10:53pm

A very good article about the essence of agile. Worth reading

Sergiu Ivasenco replied on Sun, 2009/02/01 - 10:53pm

A very good article about the essence of agile. Worth reading

David Michaels replied on Fri, 2009/02/20 - 3:28pm

You said: Ideally, the most effective artifact is executable against the source. For instance, a suite of user acceptance tests that have received customer approval. Source code is an executable artifact and must be wrapped by practices and processes that verify the correctness of the source. I have found a source code control tool to be valuable to Agile practices where it can manage both the source code assets and adapt our process on the fly and be as agile as we are. The only tool I have come across that can do this is Accurev. Giving our teams the ability to do individual testing in private workspaces, improve our continuous integration environment, and allow us to change our process with a quick drag and drop when story requirements change in invaluable.

john green green replied on Tue, 2009/09/15 - 11:41am

very helpful. Thanks!!
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john green green replied on Sun, 2009/12/06 - 11:37am

For it is us who produces the only artifact upon which a software system is judged. And it is we who must push, fight, and claw for a better way. It is our responsibility to lead the charge, and initiate the transition from the prescriptive and plan-driven processes of yesterday to the adaptive and emergent practices required of today’s software development effort.
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