February 12 2015
Within our implementation framework at AVIO, we use an Agile methodology called Scrum.  We have found this to be a great fit for Oracle Fusion Middleware projects in the SOA, BPM and WebCenter space — especially when projects seek to improve or bring innovative new approaches to an organization.
 
If you are new to Agile and Scrum, check out this great video which covers some of the key concepts:
 

Agile methodologies like Scrum have several benefits over traditional waterfall methodologies, such as:

  • Seeking progress within each iteration (or sprint) to review the accuracy of requirements and adjust course
  • Implementing a simple structure and focus on the team's effectiveness as primary goals
  • Encouraging breaking larger efforts into smaller, more manageable chunks
  • Emphasizing team collaboration -- especially business and IT)

At its core, Agile assumes change is going to happen along the way — and provides the structure and process to respond to that change.  Many of your projects likely revolve around complex business processes, integrations and user interfaces that will need to adjust and shift as more is discovered about the project.

 
1.  Use playbacks (also called reviews or demos) at the end of every sprint to ensure shared visibility on the process models, UIs or integrations that are being built
  • Luckily, tools like Oracle BPM make this very easy with Process Composer and a shared view of the process with BPMN models.  Everyone can see the process (put it up on the screen!) and make the changes or improvements needed
  • This also helps ensure the business doesn't need to wait six months to see progress or a working version
 
2.  For SOA and integrations, build services iteratively.  If you have a large amount of data mapping in a SOA service or integration, start with getting the service running and integrated with the end-point and then improve as more is defined and understood.  Show process and get the users and tester engaged earlier.
 
3.  For BPM and Process management, start with a happy path and build more complex exceptions as you go
  • This is generally good practice, but Scrum supports this approach within the methodology itself.
  • This prevents you from getting too deep into the weeds of exception handling right away
  • Often, “good enough” may allow you to ship the product or system sooner to reap benefits for the business and start the change process
 
4.  Move-and-Improve.  Scrum employs a periodic retrospective meeting held at the end of each sprint.  This meeting is where the team looks at their successes and where they need to improve — to reflect and make adjustments in how the team is working together.  This is a key activity that can help increase the effectiveness and speed of your team.  What communication was not working?  What development methods are working well?  Not well? 
 
We find that Scrum is a great fit for SOA and BPM projects.  Is your team taking advantage of these methodologies to help ensure project success?
 

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