Open-Source == Agile?

18 Jun, 2003

In Hacking and Refactoring, Eric S. Raymond argues that there's a strong similarity between the Open Source and Agile Development movements.

In general, I agree: there are many values shared between the two communities. And, there are also some important differences ...

As Eric notes, in OSS projects there is no distinction between "developer" and "customer": projects typically arise because the developers have an itch to scratch. In contrast, an Agile project involves a business-focused customer who can set priorities.

Testing is another point of difference. Some OSS projects include excellent regression-tests (the Perl interpreter springs immediately to mind), but most don't. The emerging popularity of Test-Driven Design (not just pervasive unit-testing, but writing tests first) is an Agile innovation.