May 09, 2009

Never mind the bollocks, design upfront!

In a recent blog post, Robert Martin (aka Uncle Bob), one of the leading figures of the world of agile software development, tackles a widely circulated agile myth: up-front design is evil.

I must admit that I haven't read literature on agile and that my team is rather struggling to function in a somewhat agile manner, so I'm far from being savvy. But I have heard people who claimed they were, say things like "you should evolve your design from nothing, one test-case at a time". Like Bob Martin, I too associate that with a certain solid-hoofed herbivorous quadruped's digested waste material.

In his post, Martin explains that the real agile principle is to avoid Big Design Upfront, not any design upfront. He criticizes the zealotry that turned a solid agile principle into a dangerous myth and argues that a Little Design Upfront is essential, and that we shouldn't be afraid to scale "Little" proportionally to the complexity of the project.

So how do we design upfront and still keep ourselves agile and resilient to requirements change? I believe there's at least one simple question to which if our design can answer, there's a high chance that we're on the right track: "How will I test this?".

1 comment:

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