Stakeholder Engagement in the Evolutionary Design of an API

(Experience report, 30 min)

Author(s): Ken Power (Cisco Systems)
Session: Software Design
Session chair: Angela Martin (University of Waikato)
Date: Wednesday, 2 June 2010: Main Conference
Time: 10:30-12:00
Iterative development of non-GUI software in general, and APIs in particular, in an agile context presents a number of challenges, not the least of which is effective engagement with people outside the development teams as the API evolves. We use two strategies to overcome these challenges. The first strategy is effective stakeholder engagement. This paper describes how we identify stakeholders in our product’s API, who those stakeholders are, how we engage with them, and how we incorporate feedback on a continuous basis. The second strategy is the development of an API Test Client Application that allows many different stakeholders to use the product directly as it evolves. The Test Client Application evolves in parallel, iteration by iteration, with the main product. The experiences described here can be of benefit to anyone developing an API product with multiple consumers, for example an in-process library, an out-of-process service, a Web Service, or a service in Service-Oriented Architectures.

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