Performing Advanced Research in IT Topics using Agile methodologies

This paper summarizes the experience & outcomes derived out of running  an Advanced Research elective using agile methodologies for MTech (Software Engineering) students of ISS – NUS. Using Agile way of development for exploratory research work is a unique idea using which we successfully deliver several student research projects every year. The paper would document the results of applying various agile management approaches ( like SCRUM) and engineering techniques ( TDD, Continuous Integration, Refactoring) to exploratory research work and argue on the benefits of using agile approach as against traditional software development approach for academic student exploratory research work. Evidences to show how agile techniques successfully help in doing exploratory projects would be produced. Further, the interesting aspect of how Agile techniques could be used in academic teaching work to stimulate student interest in the subject would be explored.

Takeaways for participants attending this session:

  • Understand how agile methodologies can be used to perform exploratory research work
  • Provide a framework for conducting applied research work using agile methodology
  • Critique the suitability of Agile techniques for student research work
  • Explore opportunities for expanding the scope of agile methodologies to performing research work in industry.
 
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Outline/structure of the Session

1. Nature of software research projects

2. Agile Framework to conduct research

3. Agile techniques suitable for research projects

4. Benefits of Agile vs traditional approach

Learning Outcome

The key takeaways are as following:

-          Benefits and the dynamics of Agile software development in research projects

-          Agile techniques that work effectively in research projects

-          The importance of effective communication with stakeholders

Target Audience

Researchers, Trainers, Academicians

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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  • Joel Tosi
    By Joel Tosi  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Swarnalatha,

       Interesting submission and I appreciate the other applications of agile practices.  Could you help me understand a little more how you plan on covering the techniques that work affectively.  Will you also talk about which practices didn't work affectively in your experience and why?

     

    What is the key takeaway of your session?

     

    Best,

    Joel

    • Swarnalatha Ashok
      By Swarnalatha Ashok  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Joel,

      We follow a blend of Scrum and XP process and techniques. I intend talking through the process which our research teams followed, highlighting the Agile practices that worked and those that did not work for some teams/projects. 

      The key takeaways of my session would be:

      -          Benefits and the dynamics of Agile software development in research projects

      -          Agile techniques that work effectively in research projects

      -          The importance of effective communication with stakeholders

      Hope this clarifies. Do let me know if you require any further information.

      regards,

      swarna

      • AgileSattva Consulting LLP
        By AgileSattva Consulting LLP  ~  1 year ago
        reply Reply

        Hi Swarna, would like to know if you would share the practices and how you implemented it. for example, we know TDD is good, but knowing how you approached using it. TDD is just an exmpale, you may have used many other aspects, would be more interested to know on the "How" part rather than just "What" part. 

        Also, you have mentioned about "Agile Techniques", Could you name few that you think of?

        Deepak

        • Swarnalatha Ashok
          By Swarnalatha Ashok  ~  3 years ago
          reply Reply

          Hi Deepak,

          Yes, I will definitely discuss 'how' we implemented the agile practices. For example, how we planned various sprints. Some sprints would not have any 'features' delivered, instead will focus on exploring how uncertainities can be resolved etc. 

          Some agile techniques such as time-boxing is very important in such projects so that alternatives can be explored. Others such as refactoring techniques may not add much value in research projects meant for proof of concept.

          regards,

          swarna

  • Pramod Sadalage
    By Pramod Sadalage  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Swarnalatha,

    Would you have some slides (any other presenation is fine too) and some videos of you speaking (any other topic is fine too) that you can share with us.

    Thanks

    Pramod

  • Ram Srinivasan
    By Ram Srinivasan  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Swarnalatha,

    Can you please give us specific examples of how you used Agile practices towards research. How was it different from the traditional approach? How did the existing funding process support/not support this approach?

     

    Thanks,
    Ram

    • Swarnalatha Ashok
      By Swarnalatha Ashok  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Ram,

      We used Agile methods on research that requires exploring specific software technology. Since the requirements and the outcome are uncertain, Agile methods such as time-boxing and pair programming are very crucial in managing the exploratory activities. Also the daily Scrum meetings help resolve difficult problems that the research teams encounter frequently. In essence, I will highlight, how we are able to speed-up the research project with the help of Agile techniques.

      My session is mainly on highlighting the software engineering practices and the Agile framework that has worked for us. As such, I will not be touching upon the funding process.

       

      Hope this clarifies. Do let me know if you require any further information.

       

      regards,

      swarna

  • Sachin goel
    By Sachin goel  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi - while referring to research work here, does it refer to software development as part of research? if not, would be helpful if you could provide more insight how Engineering practices are helpful in such scenarios?

    thanks - sachin 

    • Swarnalatha Ashok
      By Swarnalatha Ashok  ~  4 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Sachin,

      In the Research elective, we conduct research resulting in software Proof-of-Concept or developing a software prototype. The main part of the research involves technology exploration. I intend highlighting the importance of time-boxing, pair programming, and other software engineering techniques.

       

      Hope this clarifies. Do let me know if you require any further information.

       

      regards,

      swarna