So, You Want to be Agile? Strategies for Introducing Agility into Your Scientific Software Project

The IDEAS Productivity project, in partnership with the DOE Computing Facilities of the ALCF, OLCF, and NERSC and the DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has resumed the webinar series on Best Practices for HPC Software Developers, which we began in 2016.

As part of this series, we offer one-hour webinars on topics in scientific software development and high-performance computing, approximately once a month. The next webinar is titled So, You Want to be Agile? Strategies for Introducing Agility into Your Scientific Software Project, and will be presented by Michael Heroux (Sandia National Laboratories). The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET.


Scientific software team cultures have natural consistencies with agile practices. Discovery-driven development, a focus on regular delivery of results, in-person discussions within and across research teams, and a focus on long-term sustainable research programs are commonplace dynamics on computational science teams that develop software. These dynamics are also particular expressions of core agile principles.

Many scientific software teams have already assimilated industry best practices in some aspects of their work. The advent of open software development platforms such as GitHub and GitLab have accelerated awareness and adoption, as have numerous on-line resources that enable a motivated person to continue learning new ideas and approaches. Even so, we propose that a healthy team habit is continued exploration and improvement of software practices, processes and skills.

In this webinar, we discuss a few agile practices and strategies that are readily adapted and adopted by scientific software teams. In addition, we describe an attitude and strategy for continual process improvement that enables computational science teams to simultaneously deliver science results and, at the same time, dedicate a slice of time to improving software practices on their way to delivering those results.