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Interview: Ivar Jacobson on the UP, UML, MDA, and the future of methodologies

by Deborah Hartmann Preuss on Oct 24, 2006 |
Ivar Jacobson, a long time contributor to the field of software development methods and methodologies, is one of the creators of the Unified Process (subsequently renamed the Rational Unified Process, RUP), as well as UML and use cases.  In his InfoQ video interview, he discussed his vision for a next generation development methodology that is at once both agile and comprehensive like UP.

The Essential Unified Process (Ess UP) is a streamlined version of the UP which, as the name implies, captures the essential practices required to be successful on a UP project.

Jacobson says, in the interview:
With agile methods there's not much to study, thin books, beautiful books but thin!  Whereas if you go to Unified Process, in particular Rational Unified Process, there's no one that ever will be able to read it completely... if you want to adopt it, there's no way you can adopt it without having coaches or mentors that help you.  I wouldn't even try to adopt Unified Process without having people who have done it before.  It's too expensive and too risky to do it.  But that is how it is today; it won't be like that in the future.
His vision includes collaborative 'Intelligent Agents' to help make sense of the possibilities inherent in a large methodology, automated agents which make customization recommendations based on usage patterns.

Jacobson also talks about his views on UML, MDA, AOP, and the future of software development methodologies.  Watch the interview: Ivar Jacobson on UML, MDA, and the future of methodologies.

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Transcript errors by Nikolay Kolev

Great interview, but the transcript has lots of errors.

When answering the question What actually is intelligence agents, is like the paper clip in Microsoft Word? Ivar talks about Expert Systems, not expo system, and Rule-Based Systems, not Ruby systems. Also, it's intelligent agent and not intelligence agent. Answering So what do you think about MDA? he talks about model and model-driven and not modern and modern-driven.

Re: Transcript errors by Diana Baciu

Hello Nikolay,

i've taken of those mistakes:)

Great Interview by Ashley Aitken

Another great interview, Ivar really is a legend (in his own time I may add).

I think his views on agile development are very true. Agile development relies on the tacit knowledge of the developer's knowing what to do in software development (the process), and hopes that each developer has the same (or similar) tacit process. I also agree that most everything in the "agile manifesto" should be assumed by default - working with the client, incremental and iterative development, ...

However, I do think he left out one main difference (as I see it) between agile development and a more developed (for want of a better word) methodologies.

This is the fact that (as I see it) agile development sees the source code as the primary model for the development. To me, trying to capture analysis information, design information and all other information in the source code is a nightmare. The only thing it has going for it is that it removes the redundancy that usually (but not necessarily) exists if you have multiple models.

Cheers,
Ashley.

--
Ashley Aitken
Perth, Western Australia
mrhatken at mac dot com

Re: Great Interview by Ashley Aitken

On more thing I forgot to mention (that my memory was prompted by the article on pair programming) is that Ivar tended to portray pair programming as necessarily taking place between a senior developer (in a mentoring and coaching role) and a junior developer. I don't think this is meant to be the case, or need be the case. I believe that two reasonable developers using pair programming would develop better quality code than they each could separately and probably faster at that. There may even be a benefit to two junior developers working together (as long as they were prepared to refer to textbooks and other learning material etc.) For me, one of the benefits of pair programming is to help us be more disciplined, to help us stay focussed, and to help us get over any erroneous programming things we may do.

Cheers,
Ashely.

Re: Great Interview by Ram Guttikonda

Pair progamming in general/theory is peer pair progamming, correct. However, pair programming with best ROI is what Ivar may be referring to. This works great to get junior developer on board for a similar thinking process. Considering the quatity of code written by Junior developer could be large in real world especially with Senior people getting involved in the so called "meetings". My real experience. Also, pair programming is viewed as a risk control strategy for single point failures especially for core modules.

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