Visual Studio Agility

Our cover story this month on Agile development comes at a good time, coinciding with the recent release of the Visual Studio 11 beta.

Agile methodology, as you probably know, is ramping up in a big way, continuing to bring new converts into the fold. It makes sense, especially with the growth of mobile applications for tablets and smartphones, where time to market is a critical factor. Getting there first in this new world means shortening your development iterations.

But Agile methods aren't just for mobile platforms. I was intrigued to find out that Microsoft has implemented Agile techniques in a big way, including in the building of Visual Studio 11.

Microsoft's Jason Zander, corporate vice president of the Visual Studio Team in the Developer Division, said in a recent interview with Visual Studio Magazine that about half the team developing Visual Studio 2010 had implemented scrum (for the uninitiated, scrum is an intensely focused version of Agile, with even tighter iterations). But for Visual Studio 11 (which doesn't have an official name yet), about 90 percent of the team is using scrum.

What's the effect been on development for this huge project? Zander said it's been significant. "We're going to wind up shipping the same volume of features with about half the milestones," he noted.

Visual Studio 2010 had two betas, Zander added, while Visual Studio 11 will have one, for example. And we're talking about "millions of lines of code," according to Zander.

This means that no project is too big to be Agile, so if your software planning and execution strategies are still stuck in the last century, it's time to fast-forward to 2012 and get back the edge that your competitors now have.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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