Agile Notes: Concerto Upgrade, Census Eyes Agile, New Alliance Director

Here's a roundup of recent news of note in the Agile industry:

Parasoft on Monday announced Concerto -- a development and management tool focusing on automated defect prevention and quality assurance testing -- for Agile

"This release introduces the concept of policy-driven development," company exec Wayne Ariola told this site. "Policy-driven development allows the senior IT management team to set polices which then are managed by exception [management gets involved only when results don't match expectations] throughout the [software development lifecycle]."

For example, Ariola said, an organization might want to use Agile to develop software while meeting industry compliance standards or following best practices. In which case, a manager could simply check a box in the Concerto software and it would ensure developers meet these expectations.

"This means that your top developers -- the ones who know the drill -- will seldom get 'nudged' by the system to complete a task, review a peer or restructure code to meet compliance demands," said Ariola, vice president of strategy. "Yet, new developers might be notified to abide by [test-driven development] and reminded to create their test case prior to developing code."

The Census Bureau is considering Agile and modular software development to support the next census, according to a report yesterday from Federal News Radio, which interviewed Census Bureau Director Robert Groves.

Groves said the agency wanted to break the cycle of building complex, one-off software systems for each census, conducted every 10 years. He said that as part of the plan to change methodologies, officials will combine software development for the 2020 Census with work done for an ongoing series of annual surveys.

Federal News Radio said that would comply with general government mandates to use quick, modular and inexpensive ways to develop projects, rather than large, costly, multi-year cycles.

"I think it makes sense from our perspective," Groves told the station. "We need to stay nimble in IT development. We've committed to Internet use in 2020 already, but we have to make sure we don't prematurely lock-in to an Internet solution because the Internet of 2020 and the Internet of 2010 won't resemble each other much, I suspect."

Donna Farmer will be the new managing director of the Scrum Alliance, a nonprofit organization that promotes and shares the Agile software development methodology, according to a report last week.

Farmer is the founder and former CEO of TOR LLC, and has held management positions at other non-profit organizations, such as Vivit (focused on HP software) and the Smart Card Alliance. Farmer, who also had management stints at Global Networks for the Association for Competitive Technology and CertCo., will start Oct. 1, replacing interim director James Cundiff.

"Scrum is by far the most popular agile development framework," Farmer said in a news release. "As it continues to be more broadly accepted and spreads beyond software, the demands for training, information and guidance will increase exponentially. I'm looking forward to leading the Scrum Alliance in what promises to be an exciting time of growth and transition."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.