We know the story all too well: Someone hijacks a principle or idea and twists it to support his preferred method of work. On this common situation, I found a conversation on LinkedIn that asks, “Is there a point where agile methodology is being abused?”
To answer this question, I point you to a posting on ProjectManagers.net that lists what agile is and what it is not in a side-by-side comparison.
Where does this leave us on the development front? Are agile principles being misapplied? The problem with improper agile implementation boils down to the fact that we all bring our baggage and biases to the table.
We create a version of agile that we think is the best way to apply the principles set forth in the Agile Manifesto. This, in turn, creates chaos and frustration as things begin to break down. I am not proposing that we have to strictly follow any particular principle or methodology. We must, however, not take liberties and read into or use any specific methodology or principle to support our own personal agendas.
For example, everyone hates writing documentation that no one will follow, let alone read. This does not mean some documentation is not good.
Writing in a November 2008 post, James Shore hits the nail on the head regarding agile and where it is headed. For a testing point of view, check out Scott Barber, the president and chief technologist of PerfTestPlus, Inc. as he writes on his website about the chaos of agile and testing.
The success or failure of your agile implementations depends on how well you can reign in the chaos as well as avoid the problems that cause developers, project managers, testers, and configuration managers to lose heart. To make agile a success, your processes must be mature.
Maturity may be the best way of making your agile environment less chaotic and less frustrating. With maturity, you gain knowledge, and with knowledge, your agile projects should benefit. Agile can be successful and can work; it’s up to you to make that a reality.
Joe Townsend has been in the configuration management field for twelve years. He has worked for CNA Life Insurance, RCA, Boeing, UPS, and in state government. Joe has primarily worked with Serena tools, including PVCS Version Manager, Tracker, TeamTrack (Mashups), and Dimensions. He is an administrator for WebFocus and supports Eclipse users.