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Dave Thomas: EssUP Embraces Agility

by Deborah Hartmann Preuss on Dec 28, 2006 |
Dave Thomas, managing director of Object Mentor and founding director of the Agile Alliance, recently took a look at Ivar Jacobson Consulting's (IJC) new Essential Unified Process.  His article on Dr. Dobb's Journal, The Essential Unified Process: New Life for the Unified Process revisits the evolution of Jacobson's ideas and evaluates this latest reformulation of the Unified Process.  He calls it  "a dramatic improvement to UP," concluding that it "embraces agility."

Thomas (not to be confused with "Prag
Dave" Thomas) is perhaps best known as the founder what became the IBM OTI Labs, responsible for initial development of the Eclipse open source IDE and the Visual Age Java development environment.  He has had plenty of time to create and reflect on the effectiveness of toolsets for software development.  Given his experience, it's interesting to read this in the article:
Despite the increased amount of process and tools, organizations soon observed that just increasing process didn't seem to result in more predictable, higher quality software. The Agile Alliance emerged from the Agile Manifesto when a community of successful software developers took a public position against the process/method heavy approach and instead focused on the practices that produce software and how one can improve them.
What distinguishes EssUP, in his opinion, is that it is simpler, more flexible and more extensible than previous expressions of UP.  He says "the approach is practice-centric instead of process-role centered."  In addition, it is presented with a lightweight and friendly approach which "makes learning the process easy, some might say even agile."

His review of the EssUP included these points:
  • Lean Set of Concepts: in the spirit of Lean Software, only those practices which one really needs.
  • Easy To Learn / Brief Presentation: a refreshing presentation approach using cards, and guidance sheets.
  • Embracing Agility: this is most apparent in the inclusion of a Team Essentials practice that focuses on social engineering and the people focussed side of agile development processes.
  • Open and Extensible: in contrast to the more comprehensive and self contained RUP, EssUP focuses on the essence and provides references to the original foundation works of software community,to make it clear that professionals have a body of knowledge which is essential to this work.
Rather than disparaging competing methodologies, the article ended on an optimistic note, saying "I see no reason why other non-UP processes, be they safety-critical or agile, could not be described using this same essential concepts and approach.."

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Call me EssUP by Paul Oldfield

We've run short of TLAs, Ivar's new offering is known as EssUP for short, to distinguish it from Scott Ambler's Enterprise Unified Process - a prior claimant to the EUP TLA. Good to see Dave was using this accepted form in DDJ (that's Dr. Dobbs Journal, in case there are any other claimants...)

Re: Call me EssUP by Paul Oldfield

Thanks, Deb; that looks better now. Sorry for being picky.

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