Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: We've got a target on our backs today, folks! (was Blog about Google and Agi

Expand Messages
  • DianaLarsen
    Thanks for extending our thinking, Ron. ... ... Yes, where does this silver bullet idea come from? Who pushes it? After about 20 years in
    Message 1 of 138 , Oct 1, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Thanks for extending our thinking, Ron.
      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
      <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
      > > We should also watch for and expose those who are indeed snake-oil
      > > salespeople, passing agile off as yet another silver bullet.
      > Yes. Who are these people? Who is going around saying that Agile is
      > a silver bullet? There are people who are saying that regular cyclic
      > delivery of software that actually works, in business priority
      > order, is a good way to do things. Is it a silver bullet? Do they
      > say it is?
      > There are people who have tried pair programming, experimented with
      > it, and found what made them go fastest. Are they saying that it's a
      > silver bullet?
      > I don't know. Maybe werewolves get paranoid and see silver bullets
      > around every corner. Maybe people who are afraid of werewolves are
      > really worried that there aren't any silver bullets.

      Yes, where does this silver bullet idea come from? Who pushes it?

      After about 20 years in organizations watching useful processes and
      techniques (Theory X/Y, STS Redesign, SMWT, QWL, TQM, TOC,* etc.)
      arrive, turn into "management fads", be identified as "no silver
      bullet" and fade from consciousness, I've yet to see one that had
      proponents who characterized it as a silver bullet. Usually in the
      beginning there's some excitement about the "new" way to increase
      productivity and profits as those who've done it see its value. (BTW,
      all of them that I've read/used have also included caveats about
      conditions for successful adoption that go largely ignored.) And each
      builds on the shoulders of the previous ones, even Agile. (see
      definitions below)

      The genesis of silver bullet idea comes along from those who are
      hungry for one, "Will this shiny new X make my life wonderful and
      increase profits with minimal effort on my part and less change in my
      organization? No? Aw, shucks! What a crock it must be!" Turns out this
      wasn't a silver bullet after all, let's go look for the next one...

      I haven't seen snake oil salespersons promoting these methods. I've
      seen experienced, well-intentioned consultants trying to help
      companies adopt and make sense of them. Sometimes those
      well-intentioned folks disagree among themselves too. AND, I've seen a
      large audience ready and eager to buy the promises of snake oil and
      silver bullets, whether or not that's what's for sale.

      What I've also noticed is that the useful bits of each "fad" get
      quietly incorporated into standard operating procedures, the hype
      falls away, and the next fad comes along to take its place. Someone
      told me the other day that SMWT and TQM must have failed because no
      one talks about them anymore. Au contraire! Look carefully, artifacts
      of both are all around. All those ideas changed the way most everyone
      does business.

      I expect that much the same will happen with Agile methods as the
      adoption curve continues. By the time we get to the laggards, the new
      young whippersnappers won't remember our name. If the values,
      principles, practices and effects survive, does it matter whether the
      name of the fad does?


      *Just in case these are not all familiar to everyone. I suspect all of
      these are in wikipedia somewhere, but here are some short definitions.

      Theory X/Y = the idea work motivation comes from people's instrinsic
      desire to good work rather than from stroppings from the boss
      STS Redesign = The idea that work organization should be designed by
      jointly optimizing the interactions between the social, technical and
      customer systems.
      SMWT = Self-managing work teams; people want (and can handle) control
      over their work lives, when work tasks are mutually interdependent
      teams of people closest to the work make the best decisions
      QWL = quality of work life; the idea that workplaces can be healthy
      growthful environments, as well ss productive and profitable (I wonder
      where the ideas behind Google's culture came from?)
      TQM = Total Quality Management, if we pay attention to quality and
      reduce returns and rework, profits will take care of themselves
      TOC = Theory of constraints, eliminate the bottlenecks, etc.

      Diana Larsen
      co-author, _Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great_ (Pragmatic
      Bookshelf, 2006)

      Upcoming: "Secrets of Agile Teamwork: Beyond Technical Skills" public
      workshop, Dec. 5-7, 2006.
    • Paul
      ... Of course I would. I actually meant it in the matter that many people call it a luxury that they shouldn t have until they have the money (I get that
      Message 138 of 138 , Oct 11, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        On 10/3/06, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:

        > On 10/3/06, Paul <paultsai@...> wrote:

        > > On 10/3/06, Simon Jones <simon@...> wrote:
        > > > I doubt the mobile operator I currently work with could afford the
        > > > luxuries outlined.

        > > Well I bet Google at its beginnings couldn't either.

        > You would lose that bet.

        Of course I would. I actually meant it in the matter that many people
        call it a "luxury" that they shouldn't have until they have the money
        (I get that all the time from bosses). In fact it is not a Luxury, its
        cirtical to their business.

        Email - paultsai@...
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.