4318RE: [scrumdevelopment] RE: agile vs Agile
- Sep 1, 2004
I’ve been reading the thread on agile v Agile whilst trying to articulate and “sell” Agile within my company and to prospective customers. I have recently completed my first project as scrum master.
The way I have begun to see scrum mastering versus traditional project management is similar to the difference between transactional and transformational leadership, and similar in consequence between hierarchical/process organizations and flat-structured/cultural organizations.
It is by using “metaphors” such as these that I am finding some traction with the “unconverted hordes”.
The problem I’m having with “selling” Agile is that most of my customers think in a traditional way, the rationalism of Weber… This is leading the marketing team to sell Agile techniques using traditional language.
How can I articulate the difference that self-organization makes to a team versus command and control structures without evidence!
I am swiftly coming to the conclusion that the only way we will “sell” Agile is to do so by example. Until there is clear proof of its value, the dominant logic of the IT industry will be to load the front-end of projects with planning, and play the “cover my back” game with risks and issues logs.
I think the best way forward is to introduce Agile methods covertly, starting with the incremental introduction of XP development practices by the team and then over-laying it with Scrum once you’ve got enough stakeholders on board. There will always be some customers open to an Agile approach from the outset, but particularly in the UK these are few and far between.
The important thing is to maintain groups like this, and particularly the agile alliance to ensure there is a “pure” source somewhere!
From: Mike Beedle [mailto:beedlem@...]
Sent: 31 August 2004 20:27
Subject: !RE: [scrumdevelopment] RE: agile vs Agile
Your postings reminded me of something I wrote a couple of years ago:
"It troubles me that the _fundamental differences_ between traditional
and agile processes are not highlighted, either by the creators
and supporters of the Agile movement, or by traditional
software development figure-heads."
" ...Agile Software Development will be in the 2000's what
Defined-Process Software Development was in the 1980's. Everyone
will be in favor of it. Every manufacturer will promote his
products as supporting it. Every manager will pay lip service
to it. Every programmer will practice it (differently).
And no one will know just what it is."
..... unfortunately, "agile" is bound to go through that
irreversible cycle of commercialization that tends to evaporate
the meaning of valuable things as it has done with
"structured programming", "functional programming",
"object-oriented programming", "agent-technology", and now
Just like everything else that our industry has managed to
mangle, obfuscate, obscure, but simultaneously glamorize and
idolize, "agile development", like any other wave, will be
the prey of commercialization, opportunism, envy,
silver-bulleting, .... and the rest of the socio-economic
diseases of our time.
Agile is dead, Long live Agile!
(For some reason this discussion makes me think of the following poem
I only sang
because the lonely road was long;
and now the road and I are gone
but not the song.
I only spoke
the verse to pay for borrowed time
and now the clock and I are broken
but not the rhyme.
the self not being fundamental,
breathes only on the incidental.
-- Ernesto Galarza (1905-1984)
From: Daniel Gackle [mailto:gackle@...]
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 12:10 PM
Subject: [scrumdevelopment] RE: agile vs Agile
I agree. Reading those articles, I was astonished at how contentless
they are. It's impossible to figure out what they mean by "agile"
because, IMHO, they don't mean anything by it. A precise translation
might be "buzz buzz buzz".
Perhaps this is an inevitable stage in the lifecycle of any movement
that reaches a certain mass. If so, we can expect this wave of
misunderstanding to continue. What matters is that enough of the core
value manage to survive it. The key place to preserve this value is in
our own individual and team practice.
This relates to the conversation about "selling agile". The risk in
selling agile is that only the word will be bought and exchanged, not
the core. (For this we now have Exhibit A: CIO magazine.) This will make
some people some money, but it will not bring what many of us would most
like to see from Agile, which someone expressed to me recently as
"making software projects less soul-destroying".
You can bottle the bathwater, but not the baby.
----- Original Message -----
Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 1:34 am
Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Digest Number 701
There is a whole issue of CIO magazine devoted to "agile"
(http://www.cio.com/archive/081504/index.html). When we held the meeting
in Snowbird in 2001, Martin Fowler suggested that we name the thing
"quackenpoof" rather than "agile" to discourage other people from
cheaply using the name, as the have in this issue of CIO. "Oh, yes,
goodness sakes, we are doing much better in my "100 Most Agile"
organization... we now get the software out the door sometimes."
I'd have been so much more pleased if one of these people had a clue
about Agile rather than just the word agile. So, remember that when you
discuss agile, if you are referring to the commercialization fad that
will fade in about two years, use the small "a" agile. When you are
referring to something that comforms to the Agile movement and the Agile
manifesto, use the capital "A" Agile.
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