Agile2007: Embedded Agile Discovery Session

On Wednesday at Agile2007 conference James Grenning and Dan Pierce pulled together a discovery session for Agile and Embedded. The room was packed with people with experience on applying agile methods to embedded software development. Well, packed in this context means just over a dozen in a conference with 1150 attendees. Anyway. You really should sign up to Yahoo Agile Embedded group to follow the work of others. There are some remarkable people in this small community.

The discussion had two main topics. First, why embedded agile is getting foothold in the industry as slowly as it is. Several items were identified and the discussion is continued in Yahoo group. Second, that's correct, what else, but agile testing. People had different levels of practical experience, but the main theme was that it is important and it is definatelly possible. On the topic of safety critical embedded software and agile methods, the verdict was that this is not a problem. Safety critical embedded software actually SHOULD be developed using agile methods.

90 minutes was way too short time for anything concrete, but at least the event proved that agile embedded community exists. Thanks to James and Dan.

Jack Ganssle was also present and he posted about the conference in his Break Points column at embedded.com.

The Agile 2007 conference catered mostly to PC types, but some embedded heads showed up.

That post also made it to the latest Carnival of Agilists. This edition of Carnival of Agilists also mentions Atomic Object's approach to mocking the embedded world.

Agile embedded gets some visibility.


Seminar on Agile and Embedded in Helsinki

At ELKOM07 fair in Helsinki, Finland, Tieturi organizes a free 4h mini seminar on Agile and embedded system development on 5.9.2007. While it's free you still need to register.


Does eXtreme Development Exist?

I spent last week in Washington D.C. participating Agile2007 conference. The conference program was overwhelming with over 300 events. However while we have many implications to agile embedded systems development the agile embedded community is still small. So next time you see an agile conference ad, sign up!

Jim Highsmith is a person that has brought together agile community and general product development. I have followed his work and writings closely. He has brought work of people like Stefan Thomke, Preston Smith, and Donald Rainertsen (Reinertsen & Associates) to my knowledge. The latter two co-wrote the book Developing Products in Half the Time. In the panel discussion about agile manifesto there was a Q if the panelists believed that values of manifesto are applicable to development outside SW. (This is what tried also!). Highsmith mentioned a pure HW team that they successfully coached based on eXtreme Programming techniques. In that particular project there was no SW at all!

While browsing for the links, I found out that there is a new book out from Preston Smith:

Flexible Product Development: Building Agility for Changing Markets. It's on top of my wish list.


The Pain of Choosing the Refactoring Tool

Eclipse SDK version 4.0 was released earlier this summer. My hopes were high especially after listening Doug Schaefer, the Eclipse SDK project lead, at ESC2007. I just quickly took a look at the long waited refactoring tools.

Well, it's not as impressive as could, but it's a start. We know that writing refactoring tools for C is difficult, as with the preprocessing a C compiler can be made to understand virtually anything. Doug mentioned their struggle when he commented earlier on this blog. Good news is that it's now easier to start using Eclipse for C projects, as it is possible to get Eclipse and SDK in same package.

We have been using SlickEdit for a while. Slick has a bit more refactorings for C - actually all three of them.

Refactoring is an important ingredient in test-driven development and while these tools are not much, they still take the bar for quick refactoring lower.

And that is good news. If you are not able to decide from this myriad of choises, you can choose the middle way - get the SlickEdit plugin for Eclipse.