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Re: [XP] Kai Gilb: 7 truths about Agile and Scrum that people don't want to hear

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  • Dave Rooney
    Well said, Laurent. I would actually agree with Kai to an extent if he were focusing on XP or Scrum circa 2001. My experience is that User Stories alone that
    Message 1 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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      Well said, Laurent.

      I would actually agree with Kai to an extent if he were focusing on XP
      or Scrum circa 2001. My experience is that User Stories alone that can
      be completed in a single 1-3 week iteration/sprint are too granular to
      describe a whole system.

      Indeed, this is where chartering come into play, as well as some of the
      drill-down approaches such as Mike Cohn's Theme-Epic-Story or Jim
      Highsmith's Capability-Feature-Story. Even in 2004ish Industrial XP had
      Release Stories and Iteration Stories. It's these higher level
      aggregations that describe the business value.

      A question for the community - Kai used the example User Story from the
      Scrum Training Institute of "As a buyer, I want to place a book in the
      shopping cart"
      (http://scrumtraininginstitute.com/home/stream_download/scrumprimer on
      page 8). What do you think of this as a story?

      My first impression is that there is no statement of the business value
      using the "so that" clause. This is Kai's argument to an extent, and
      something that I insist is included in Stories - if the Customer/Product
      Owner can't say why they want something, then it probably shouldn't be
      built!

      I'm also not terribly comfortable with "place a book in the shopping
      cart". Kent, Ron, Chet & any others involved in C3 and early XP
      projects, did you extend the System Metaphor to the text in the
      stories? I do realize that the "As a <role>, I want to <action>, so
      that <value>" format came later, but did you the Metaphor simply live in
      the discussions and code, or did you use it in the Stories as well?

      --

      Dave Rooney
      Agile Coach and Co-founder, Westboro Systems
      "Maximizing the value of your IT investments!"
      E-mail: dave.rooney@...
      Twitter: daverooneyca
      http://www.westborosystems.com
      http://practicalagility.blogspot.com



      On 03/03/2010 7:51 AM, Laurent Bossavit wrote:
      > Short assessment: "anti" rhetoric, aka bashing. Ignore.
      >
      > Here's a constructive suggestion: mostly pay attention to people who
      > are bringing forward new, valuable ideas. If these ideas do, in fact,
      > adress shortcomings in Agile thinking, and are compatible with Agile,
      > then they will be adopted by Agile practitioners, whose motto is "I'll
      > have what they're having."
      >
      > (For more on where that phrase comes from, see my Pask article: http://www.paskaward.org/publications/bossavit100225.html
      > )
      >
      > Do pay attention to critics, for criticism is valuable. I'm willing to
      > spend time to listen to thoughtful arguments that what we advocate is
      > counter-productive with respect to benefit X that we seek. Ultimately
      > such arguments should yield testable predictions, with empirical
      > inquiry deciding which theory is applicable in which context.
      >
      > However, "Agile has a FATAL flaw which is adressed by idea X which
      > I've been advocating" is a marketing tactic. Please give me idea X
      > without the faux-skeptic message.
      >
      > It is simply untrue that "Agile [...] doesn't say anything about
      > requirements". The claim doesn't stand up to a minute of scrutiny, and
      > making that claim undermines pretty much everything around it.
      >
      > Agile does say plenty about requirements. It says some things which
      > are subjects of controversy *within* the Agile community, for instance
      > James Shore's recent "apostasy", if that's the right word, regarding
      > automated acceptance tests.
      >
      > Yes, and there are ideas I'd like to see spreading much more in the
      > Agile community. Practical thinking around requirements and what type
      > of conceptual work goes into "delivering value" rather than churning
      > out lines of code. That includes things like the too little known work
      > on Project Charters, or what the BDD people have been doing to mangle
      > acceptance testing into thinking about business value.
      >
      > And it's all work that's happening *within* the Agile community
      > without these people running around say "Oh dear, oh dear, Agile has
      > these fatal flaws which we must immediately adress on pain of fading
      > back into obscurity." Sarcasm intended, but gentle sarcasm.
      >
      > Kai: I'm interested in your ideas, the best way to advance them is to
      > package them into a session or two and come present them at Agile2010.
      > Share your expertise and your experience. If people don't seem
      > interested in taking up your ideas, see that as a hint to improve the
      > packaging of the ideas, rather than as evidence that the Agile
      > community is somehow stuffing its head in the sand.
      >
      > There is no "truth we don't want to hear". Agile is, as far as I can
      > see, a mostly healthy community of inquiry. Could we become even more
      > so? Certainly. But let's focus our energies on the inquiry, rather
      > than on pretending, for rhetorical reasons, that the inquiry is impeded.
      >
      > Cheers,
      > Laurent Bossavit
      > laurent@...
      >
    • Ilja Preuß
      Hi Dave, ... I think it s totally ok, if you take into account that it s *a promise for a conversation*. A competent team will take that story and ask
      Message 2 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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        Hi Dave,

        > A question for the community - Kai used the example User Story from the
        > Scrum Training Institute of "As a buyer, I want to place a book in the
        > shopping cart"
        > (http://scrumtraininginstitute.com/home/stream_download/scrumprimer on
        > page 8).  What do you think of this as a story?

        I think it's totally ok, if you take into account that it's *a promise
        for a conversation*. A competent team will take that story and ask
        questions, inquiring where the business value is coming from, what
        alternative implementations there might be etc. Assuming that the team
        is supposed to just silently accept that story as is and implement it
        without asking questions is a strawman argument, ignoring the highly
        collaborative working style expected of Agile teams.

        Thanks for asking that question, answering it has been quite
        insightful for me! :)

        Cheers, Ilja
      • Dave Rooney
        ... Yes! Martin Fowler wrote about that recently: http://www.martinfowler.com/bliki/DecreedStories.html . I hadn t thought about Martin s Bliki entry in the
        Message 3 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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          On 03/03/2010 9:13 AM, Ilja Preuß wrote:
          >> A question for the community - Kai used the example User Story from the
          >> Scrum Training Institute of "As a buyer, I want to place a book in the
          >> shopping cart"
          >> (http://scrumtraininginstitute.com/home/stream_download/scrumprimer on
          >> page 8). What do you think of this as a story?
          >>
          > I think it's totally ok, if you take into account that it's *a promise
          > for a conversation*. A competent team will take that story and ask
          > questions, inquiring where the business value is coming from, what
          > alternative implementations there might be etc. Assuming that the team
          > is supposed to just silently accept that story as is and implement it
          > without asking questions is a strawman argument, ignoring the highly
          > collaborative working style expected of Agile teams.
          >

          Yes! Martin Fowler wrote about that recently:
          http://www.martinfowler.com/bliki/DecreedStories.html . I hadn't
          thought about Martin's Bliki entry in the context of this discussion,
          though, but it makes perfect sense. If the Stories are 'decreed' then I
          could see Kai's point, but that would actually be a failure mode of Agile.

          > Thanks for asking that question, answering it has been quite
          > insightful for me! :)
          >

          Heh, thanks for thanking me! I'm actually starting to "get" the concept
          of asking more questions than providing opinions! :)

          --

          Dave Rooney
          Agile Coach and Co-founder, Westboro Systems
          "Maximizing the value of your IT investments!"
          E-mail: dave.rooney@...
          Twitter: daverooneyca
          http://www.westborosystems.com
          http://practicalagility.blogspot.com
        • Charlie Poole
          Hi Dave, ... This looks like blogging as a publishing mechanism - no feedback desired. It s an odd model for us, but some folks use it. It s somewhat amusing
          Message 4 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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            Hi Dave,

            > On 03/03/2010 8:05 AM, Ilja Preuß wrote:
            > > As an aside, am I the only one who doesn't see how to add a
            > comment to
            > > that blog?
            > >
            >
            > Nope - I couldn't see a link either.

            This looks like blogging as a publishing mechanism - no feedback
            desired. It's an odd model for us, but some folks use it.

            It's somewhat amusing is that lack of understanding of feedback
            is evident in the text as well.

            Charlie
          • Ilja Preuß
            Interestingly, there *are* already comments posted. I contacted Kay on twitter about it - perhaps we are missing something, or it s an oversight. I will keep
            Message 5 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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              Interestingly, there *are* already comments posted. I contacted Kay on
              twitter about it - perhaps we are missing something, or it's an
              oversight. I will keep you posted.

              Cheers, Ilja

              2010/3/3 Charlie Poole <cpoole@...>:
              > Hi Dave,
              >
              >> On 03/03/2010 8:05 AM, Ilja Preuß wrote:
              >> > As an aside, am I the only one who doesn't see how to add a
              >> comment to
              >> > that blog?
              >> >
              >>
              >> Nope - I couldn't see a link either.
              >
              > This looks like blogging as a publishing mechanism - no feedback
              > desired. It's an odd model for us, but some folks use it.
              >
              > It's somewhat amusing is that lack of understanding of feedback
              > is evident in the text as well.
              >
              > Charlie
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to:   extremeprogramming@...
              >
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
              >
              > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Ricardo Mayerhofer
              Jeff Patton talks about this subject in his presentation: http://agileproductdesign.com/downloads/patton_embrace_uncertainty_optimized.ppt
              Message 6 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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                Jeff Patton talks about this subject in his presentation:
                http://agileproductdesign.com/downloads/patton_embrace_uncertainty_optimized.ppt

                Em 3/3/2010 10:35, Dave Rooney escreveu:
                > Well said, Laurent.
                >
                > I would actually agree with Kai to an extent if he were focusing on XP
                > or Scrum circa 2001. My experience is that User Stories alone that can
                > be completed in a single 1-3 week iteration/sprint are too granular to
                > describe a whole system.
                >
                > Indeed, this is where chartering come into play, as well as some of the
                > drill-down approaches such as Mike Cohn's Theme-Epic-Story or Jim
                > Highsmith's Capability-Feature-Story. Even in 2004ish Industrial XP had
                > Release Stories and Iteration Stories. It's these higher level
                > aggregations that describe the business value.
                >
                > A question for the community - Kai used the example User Story from the
                > Scrum Training Institute of "As a buyer, I want to place a book in the
                > shopping cart"
                > (http://scrumtraininginstitute.com/home/stream_download/scrumprimer on
                > page 8). What do you think of this as a story?
                >
                > My first impression is that there is no statement of the business value
                > using the "so that" clause. This is Kai's argument to an extent, and
                > something that I insist is included in Stories - if the Customer/Product
                > Owner can't say why they want something, then it probably shouldn't be
                > built!
                >
                > I'm also not terribly comfortable with "place a book in the shopping
                > cart". Kent, Ron, Chet& any others involved in C3 and early XP
                > projects, did you extend the System Metaphor to the text in the
                > stories? I do realize that the "As a<role>, I want to<action>, so
                > that<value>" format came later, but did you the Metaphor simply live in
                > the discussions and code, or did you use it in the Stories as well?
                >
                >
              • Sebastian
                Maybe he was talking about the ones at InfoQ... http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/03/serious-flaws-agile-scrum
                Message 7 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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                  Maybe he was talking about the ones at InfoQ...

                  http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/03/serious-flaws-agile-scrum

                  --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ilja Preuß <iljapreuss@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Interestingly, there *are* already comments posted. I contacted Kay on
                  > twitter about it - perhaps we are missing something, or it's an
                  > oversight. I will keep you posted.
                  >
                  > Cheers, Ilja
                  >
                  > 2010/3/3 Charlie Poole <cpoole@...>:
                  > > Hi Dave,
                  > >
                  > >> On 03/03/2010 8:05 AM, Ilja Preuß wrote:
                  > >> > As an aside, am I the only one who doesn't see how to add a
                  > >> comment to
                  > >> > that blog?
                  > >> >
                  > >>
                  > >> Nope - I couldn't see a link either.
                  > >
                  > > This looks like blogging as a publishing mechanism - no feedback
                  > > desired. It's an odd model for us, but some folks use it.
                  > >
                  > > It's somewhat amusing is that lack of understanding of feedback
                  > > is evident in the text as well.
                  > >
                  > > Charlie
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > ------------------------------------
                  > >
                  > > To Post a message, send it to:   extremeprogramming@...
                  > >
                  > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                  > >
                  > > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                • JackM
                  I read this post. It s easy to focus on one aspect of Scrum whilst ignoring other aspects. For example, Kai shows the Scrum process drawing ... nowhere does he
                  Message 8 of 19 , Mar 3, 2010
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                    I read this post. It's easy to focus on one aspect of Scrum whilst ignoring other aspects. For example, Kai shows the Scrum process drawing ... nowhere does he show the feedback loop which is designed to ensure that the process is producing value - that's exactly what the Demo, retrospective is all about.

                    Picking off the top of the product backlog is all about picking the high value customer stuff in accordance with guidance from PO, Customer and/or stakeholder.
                    Delivering working software early means you get to hear this feedback from users sooner, so you get value sooner.

                    Scrum is all about delivering value.

                    The Manifesto is more of a mission statement, to serve as a guidance away from traditional waterfall methods which generally force us into analysis paralysis mode.

                    The second part of the blog, about the stories, well what are acceptance tests all about, definition of done criteria etc. This rant is selective hearing.

                    Jack
                    www.agilebuddy.com
                    twitter.com/agilebuddy
                    blog.agilebuddy.com

                    --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Sebastian" <paymentexpert@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > First I thought this would be the usual rant but there is more to it than I initially thought:
                    >
                    > http://gilb.com/blogpost111-7-truths-about-Agile-and-Scrum-that-people-don-t-want-to-hear-Part-0-of-7
                    >
                    > The goal is really to aid the user and not to produce working software. The latter is just a precondition, not the goal for the stakeholders such as the users of the software.
                    >
                    > Maybe Agile should step to the next level: From creating working software to create solutions that help the stakeholders meet their individual goals.
                    >
                    > What do you think?
                    >
                    > Sebastian K�beck
                    >
                  • Tim Ottinger
                    ... Agreed, because it is obvious if you can limit Agile Software Development to as it is practiced or (more accurately) as I have seen it practiced , and
                    Message 9 of 19 , Mar 4, 2010
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                      ----- Original Message ----
                      > From: Ilja Preuß <iljapreuss@...>

                      > Frankly, I'm tired of people who tell me how Agile Software
                      > Development is inadequate and needs to change.

                      Agreed, because it is obvious if you can limit "Agile Software
                      Development" to 'as it is practiced' or (more accurately) 'as I
                      have seen it practiced', and not 'as it is evolving'.

                      My biggest problem with most of the criticism and certification
                      efforts is that it's just not that simple to say what it is.
                      My "agile" is rather "xp" and growing continually more "lean",
                      with some real interest in quality techniques and customer
                      focus.

                      Just wanted to drop you a +1 on your objection.

                      tim
                    • criesbeck
                      I ve been teaching CS students and project managers (most without software backgrounds) Agile ideas for several years now, trying to meld the themes and
                      Message 10 of 19 , Mar 4, 2010
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                        I've been teaching CS students and project managers (most without software backgrounds) Agile ideas for several years now, trying to meld the themes and principles I've seen as a lurker on this group since 2000, and a follower of XP discussions on comp.object.moderated before that.

                        To me it's been blatantly obvious that the whole point was to deliver early client value. I start my spiels for PMs with three top goals any project process should have, in this order of importance:

                        - a satisfied client
                        - a happy productive team
                        - a profitable business

                        I did resonate very slightly with two points. One is that *students* often write stories of functional but not business value. I just tried my hand at a blog entry on this here:

                        http://allcritiquesgreatandsmall.blogspot.com/2010/03/early-client-value-is-more-than-just.html

                        And like the Gilbs, I get more insight out of the Agile Principles than the Agile Manifesto. But it's grasping at straws to say that that's putting value on page two.

                        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Sebastian" <paymentexpert@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > First I thought this would be the usual rant but there is more to it than I initially thought:
                        >
                        > http://gilb.com/blogpost111-7-truths-about-Agile-and-Scrum-that-people-don-t-want-to-hear-Part-0-of-7
                        >
                        > The goal is really to aid the user and not to produce working software. The latter is just a precondition, not the goal for the stakeholders such as the users of the software.
                        >
                        > Maybe Agile should step to the next level: From creating working software to create solutions that help the stakeholders meet their individual goals.
                        >
                        > What do you think?
                        >
                        > Sebastian Kübeck
                        >
                      • Ilja Preuß
                        OK, apparently you need to register with the site to be able to comment. Not sure I wanna do that. Cheers, Ilja
                        Message 11 of 19 , Mar 4, 2010
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                          OK, apparently you need to register with the site to be able to
                          comment. Not sure I wanna do that.

                          Cheers, Ilja

                          2010/3/3 Ilja Preuß <iljapreuss@...>:
                          > Interestingly, there *are* already comments posted. I contacted Kay on
                          > twitter about it - perhaps we are missing something, or it's an
                          > oversight. I will keep you posted.
                          >
                          > Cheers, Ilja
                          >
                          > 2010/3/3 Charlie Poole <cpoole@...>:
                          >> Hi Dave,
                          >>
                          >>> On 03/03/2010 8:05 AM, Ilja Preuß wrote:
                          >>> > As an aside, am I the only one who doesn't see how to add a
                          >>> comment to
                          >>> > that blog?
                          >>> >
                          >>>
                          >>> Nope - I couldn't see a link either.
                          >>
                          >> This looks like blogging as a publishing mechanism - no feedback
                          >> desired. It's an odd model for us, but some folks use it.
                          >>
                          >> It's somewhat amusing is that lack of understanding of feedback
                          >> is evident in the text as well.
                          >>
                          >> Charlie
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >> ------------------------------------
                          >>
                          >> To Post a message, send it to:   extremeprogramming@...
                          >>
                          >> To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                          >>
                          >> ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >
                        • Tim Ottinger
                          ... I think that s just another way to say Agile fails to promote my business model. Tim Ottinger http://agileinaflash.blogspot.com/
                          Message 12 of 19 , Mar 4, 2010
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                            > However, "Agile has a FATAL flaw which is adressed by idea X which
                            > I've been advocating" is a marketing tactic. Please give me idea X
                            > without the faux-skeptic message.

                            I think that's just another way to say "Agile fails to promote my
                            business model."

                            Tim Ottinger
                            http://agileinaflash.blogspot.com/
                            http://agileotter.blogspot.com/

                            >
                          • paul
                            Clearly the author has difficulty understanding plain English. The only part of it that I thought had any merit whatsoever was the notion that agile is
                            Message 13 of 19 , Mar 9, 2010
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                              Clearly the author has difficulty understanding plain English.

                              The only part of it that I thought had any merit whatsoever was the notion that agile is "developer centric". Well so what ??, happy developers are productive developers.

                              --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Sebastian" <paymentexpert@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > First I thought this would be the usual rant but there is more to it than I initially thought:
                              >
                              > http://gilb.com/blogpost111-7-truths-about-Agile-and-Scrum-that-people-don-t-want-to-hear-Part-0-of-7
                              >
                              > The goal is really to aid the user and not to produce working software. The latter is just a precondition, not the goal for the stakeholders such as the users of the software.
                              >
                              > Maybe Agile should step to the next level: From creating working software to create solutions that help the stakeholders meet their individual goals.
                              >
                              > What do you think?
                              >
                              > Sebastian Kübeck
                              >
                            • Steve Ropa
                              I honestly don t agree that agile is developer centric . In enables developers greatly , but the underlying message continues to be that we are developing
                              Message 14 of 19 , Mar 10, 2010
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                                I honestly don't agree that agile is "developer centric". In enables developers greatly , but the underlying message continues to be that we are developing the software that *provides business value*.

                                The other part of his rant that I just don't understand is his assertion that agile hampers creativity. How could a sentence on a card that starts a conversation about a feature possibly be more restrictive than a 30 page document with a list of "shalls" and "shall nots"?


                                From: paul
                                Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 10:58 AM
                                To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [XP] Re: Kai Gilb: 7 truths about Agile and Scrum that people don't want to hear




                                Clearly the author has difficulty understanding plain English.

                                The only part of it that I thought had any merit whatsoever was the notion that agile is "developer centric". Well so what ??, happy developers are productive developers.

                                --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Sebastian" <paymentexpert@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > First I thought this would be the usual rant but there is more to it than I initially thought:
                                >
                                > http://gilb.com/blogpost111-7-truths-about-Agile-and-Scrum-that-people-don-t-want-to-hear-Part-0-of-7
                                >
                                > The goal is really to aid the user and not to produce working software. The latter is just a precondition, not the goal for the stakeholders such as the users of the software.
                                >
                                > Maybe Agile should step to the next level: From creating working software to create solutions that help the stakeholders meet their individual goals.
                                >
                                > What do you think?
                                >
                                > Sebastian Kübeck
                                >





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