Pragmatic Strikes Again, via Configuration Management!

By: Kim L. Robertson and Jon M. Quigley

Pragmatic and Agile

Sometime back, I wrote a brief rant on the use of the word pragmatic. I had seen the word hijacked by executives to justify what could be characterized as a reckless product launch. Reduce or minimize testing, just get the product to market, and hope for the best.  Recently, I had the chance to see another example of using the word to justify risky behavior, by the Agile approach to software development. Instead of establishing a test program with minimal controls over the test design and the item being tested to validate a test safe scenario the desire was to eliminate configuration management fundamentals.

Configuration Management Down Stream

Configuration management is the management tool internationally accepted as a key element of efficient and effective product development, test and manufacturing.  Configuration Management is all around us. Many people perform elements of it without naming it. It is sized to the development effort and applied with ever increasing rigor as product safety, reliability and field support needs increase.

In Reality…

A proposal to eliminate configuration management due to a perceived encumbrance on the agile team is not a pragmatic approach. Pragmatic is defined as dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories.  Pragmatism in an agile development environment would be to clearly keep the end goal in sight and then tailor not only the application of Configuration Management activities but all other management tools appropriate to the work being performed. It is not pragmatic to eliminate tools proved to reduce cost, schedule and positively affect the quality of the end product.

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