10 years has gone by and the terms 'Agile' and 'Scrum' have risen, declined, and are presently plotting towards a cataclysmic fall. Perhaps without bloodletting, but i'm willing to bet that it will cost our industry far more money than it did the Roman Republic 2000 years ago (insert inflation math here).
I have personally grown weary of interview candidates who profess to understand Agile, but who only speak of it in terms of brochure level exposure.
Agile is iterative software delivery, scrum meetings, and talking to the customer
There are several issues with this blunt statement, or admission of enlightenment.
- Agile and Scrum are not quite the same thing. If you don't at least understand that Agile governs the whole approach across engineering and management practices, and that Scrum is strictly the latter, then you can't claim any enlightenment with respect to these topics. My biggest take-away from this statement is that the candidate practiced scrum, but paid no attention to XP engineering practices, which i now refer to as Agile Development Practices. Should i dare ask if they have ever written a unit test?
- Scrum is suffering from it's own simplicity. Anybody can pick up a cole's notes on Scrum and genuinely feel like they've cracked it. The fact that i can get a Scrum Certification after 2 days in some places only entrenches this myth.
- People focus on the structure of methodologies, often at the expense of the values and principles. Exercising Scrum is the easy part, but ensuring that you maintain the spirit of the Agile Manifesto is difficult to master.
And so here i am, 10 years later - a self-diagnosed abuser of Agile for at least half that time. As the counter-culture builds around me in a typical reaction to failed attempts at Agile, i'm left wondering how to describe my approach to software development without using the terms that i evangelized before. I daresay Agile has mainstreamed, and that is the first step in it's inevitable decline.
Now we have to play the game of semantics so that we can indulge executives everywhere with a new rebranded methodology, but that somehow, surrepticiously, maintains the same old values and principles. Because, in the end, the foundation for code craftsmanship and software professionalism must surely stand on its own.
Here is the article that prompted this latest stochatic ripple.
t's too bad. The good Agile--the real Agile--it really works. I've seen it. My colleagues have seen it. It's been repeated hundreds of times, and some of those projects have succeeded for years. But those hundreds of successes will be drowned out by the thousands of failures. - James Shore