Thursday, December 4, 2008

Agile's PR problem--people who don't do it right give Agile a bad name

Jim Shore posted an interesting blog, The Decline and Fall of Agile.

It's well thought out and genuine and I agree with him except saying it's the "decline and fall of agile" felt like a fear tactic to get notice. (terror!)

I'll go this far: Agile is going to have a PR problem.

Scrum allows one to teach agile planning without agile engineering.
Sometimes you can't fix everything at once. When you go into an organization that is doing up-front (but not really since the requirements always change) and teach them to do agile, if you can get them to at least execute Scrum and have them doing it all rather than Scrum (but not really) you have improved the situation.

Are they going to struggle if they aren't doing XP practices? Hell yes. Some of them evolve a little to automate their tests and many evolve to Water Scrum (a waterfall life-cycle during the sprint so two weeks development, two weeks of "stabilization for testing", terrible stuff really, but they do a lot of planning just like Jim said. And that's an improvement because they have closer to truth about the state of things).

Also, I have been involved in agile roll outs that teach both Scrum and XP. It's really expensive to the organization to do booth, both in time and money. I'm with Jim in saying that it's going to be cheaper in the long haul, but it does create a high barrier to winning business.

The existence of consulting gigs to make Agile teams better is a better situation for the client because their mistakes are costing them less.

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