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69299RE: [XP] How do agile methods survive in highly structured organisations

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  • William Pietri
    Feb 2, 2003
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      On Sat, 2003-02-01 at 16:15, Michael Lane wrote:
      > We are interested in finding out from practitioners experienced in using
      > agile methods such as XP, whether agile methods fit better with certain
      > types of organisations than others and if so why?

      I'd say that yes, Agile methods are only suitable to certain types of
      organizations. If I had to sum the difference up in one word, it'd be

      The attitude behind all of the various Agile methods that I've looked at
      closely seems to be that there is a real-world purpose to producing
      software, and that one's success can be measured by reference to that.
      Ergo, we should do everything we can to tighten feedback loops, so that
      we can converge rapidly on good ways to get where we are going.

      On the other hand, some organizations, which I will designate by the
      objective and non-judgemental term "crazy", appear to judge software
      project success by other criteria. These criteria vary, but in the
      examples I can think of success is determined by corporate politics or
      by conformance to process checkboxes of questionable relevance (e.g.,
      the amount which software conforms to a contract or spec, regardless of
      the actual utility of the software).

      The waterfall (and other document-centered methods), on the other hand,
      work at least as well in crazy organizations, and perhaps better. That's
      not to say that the software will be any better, of course. But long
      planning cycles, mountains of paper, and talmudic arguments over the
      "meaning" of a mass of semi-conflicting documents can effectively hide
      any pragmatic, real-world concern. That leaves a lot more room for
      politics, ritual, bullshit, and barking madness.

      It's my further observation that small companies are only crazy if the
      head honcho is pretty crazy. Large companies, though, can be crazy even
      if they are populated by people who are generally quite reasonable. So I
      would expect a moderate negative correlation between organization size
      and ease of adopting Agile methods.

      Is that the sort of thing you were looking for, Michael?


      brains for sale: http://scissor.com/
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