28 May 2013

The effects of complexity and value on up-front architecture planning

Complexity versus size... and value versus cost.

What are the effects of each of these on up-front planning in agile development? I am presenting a paper on these results from my research at the XP2013 conference in Vienna next week.

A key feature of agile software development is its prioritisation of responding to changing requirements over planning ahead. If an agile development team spends too much time planning and designing architecture then responding to change will be extremely costly, while not doing enough architectural design puts the project at risk of failure. Striking the balance depends heavily on the context of the system being built, the environment and the development teams. This Grounded Theory research into how much architecture agile teams design up-front has identified system complexity as an important factor in determining how much planning a team does up-front, while system size, although related to complexity, has a much less direct impact. Furthermore, when determining how much design to do up-front, value to the customer can be a more important factor than overall development cost. Understanding these factors can help agile teams to determine how much up-front planning is appropriate for the systems they develop.
Submitted version

The final publication will be available at link.springer.com

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