December 11, 2006
On Being Agile
As you've worked on or with teams making the change to more of an Agile Software Development approach, you've probably heard comments along the lines of, "Hey, this is just assigning a name to what we've already been doing." -or- "These are all just common sense concepts.".
As we coach teams on adopting Agile principles we try to respond to comments like this confirming that yes, Agile principles mostly represent filtering out activities that don't seem to be useful (at least not in every situation) and doing more of the remaining activities most of the time. These activities (or Agile principles) tend to be the items that people list as being useful to deliver working and testing code on a frequent/consistent basis. These also tend to be the elements that people list as existing on teams they've worked on in the past that they viewed as successful.
We encourage teams to not get bogged down in calling the process Agile (or not) but to just focus on identifying and alleviating their software development pains by applying principles that may or may not be a traditional part of one or more Agile methodologies. It goes without saying that every team and situation is different, so one way to view Agile principles is that they provide a framework of useful concepts that you can introduce (gradually in some cases) to attempt to fix a broken process. Some of them will be common sense (depending on which team member is viewing them), some fill in holes in a current process that isn't working and others add "just enough" structure to provide useful metrics and oversight for management and all stakeholders.
So on the topic of being or becoming Agile, the debate shouldn't focus on "installing yet another methodology". It should focus more on identifying and admitting process pains and deciding which principles (and how deeply you employ them) will be useful to begin addressing the pain.
Posted by Doug Bliss on December 11, 2006 | Permalink
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