Agile Methodology and Emergence

What is Emergence?

“It is the behavior of a system that is not explicitly described by the behavior of the components of the system, and is therefore unexpected to a designer or observer” – Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc.

“…emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions” – Wikipedia

In short: The principle of emergence is 2 + 2 > 4

What is Agile?

[When I started working on this post, I was desperately looking for a decent definition of agile but could not find one. So, I modified the definition in Wikipedia to something acceptable]

“…refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.” – Wikipedia

In short: In agile software development …

…requirement emerges

…solution emerges

…team dynamics emerges

Therefore, applying the principle of emergence we can say that when you use agile software development methodology:

  1. The final solution is better than the individual pieces of requirements that you had specified in the beginning and
  2. The team produces more than the sum of the capability of the individual members

Without detailed planning and top down management

For any “manager” it is a paradigm shift in thinking.

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7 Responses to “Agile Methodology and Emergence”
  1. Eswaran says:

    The way it works is…

    Only after the users see something on the software, there is a quantumn jump in the understadnig of the requirments. Some times this is so overwhelming that changes the requirements dramatically. Also Many requiements get refined with the increased knowledge what exactly can be achieved through automation. The users get more insight in to customer behaviour and this changes the way they want an application done.

    This dynamic aspect of the requirements obviously forces the team to think differently and in a limited time. This leads to innovative solutions and a cohesive behaviour that is optherwise absent.

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