Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

How the Agile Manifesto can apply to the database

Robert Reeves, CTO and co-founder, Datical | March 2, 2016
In 2001, a bunch of people got together and wrote a manifesto on Agile software. There were two main factors that made the output suspect. First, the fact that they even called it a manifesto. Second, the manifesto had nothing to do with software. It talked about values.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

In 2001, a bunch of people got together and wrote a manifesto on Agile software. There were two main factors that made the output suspect. First, the fact that they even called it a manifesto. Second, the manifesto had nothing to do with software. It talked about values.

For those in need of a refresher, here’s the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development:”

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

-- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

-- Working software over comprehensive documentation

-- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

-- Responding to change over following a plan --

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Somewhere along the line, we started doing daily standups, two-week sprints, maybe a little pair programming here and there. Since then our software output and productivity have sky-rocketed. Remember when we used to have an end-of-project company bug hunt? How about the integration exercise that … never ended?

Both of those things (and so many more hurdles) are obsolete. The one lingering question in my mind is: Why do database administrators always look like they’re playing catch-up? Their plight reminds me of the “I Love Lucy” episode during which she and Ethel are wrapping candy at the chocolate factory.

Just like Lucy, DBAs believe they have everything under control. Everything is manageable and the “We can handle this!” attitude prevails. Then, the conveyor belt speeds up and starts to crush them. To bring this metaphor full-circle, on the other side of that wall from Lucy and Ethel, Agile software development feeds the conveyor belt with more and more applications.

So what’s the problem, DBA?

Agile has inarguably done wonders for software development teams. They are more productive, they put out higher quality software, their work/life balance is improved. What database administrator wouldn’t want all those same things? After all, the database is just as important as any other part of the stack. (Op-Ed Note: In full transparency, we actually believe the database is even more important.) And, just like the application uses code, we can find an analogue with SQL for the database.

Let’s walk through the Agile Manifesto and see how it can apply to the database.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Too often I hear from DBAs, “We don’t do it like that here.” There is an entrenchment of process and tools at the database level that frankly needs to be rethought.

 

1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.