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RE: [XP] Re: Agile Rentschian Thinking

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  • Mike Beedle
    ... Grady: I disagree. I have been running Scrum teams for 6 years and about 2 years of Scrum and XP mixed together, and I have never felt stronger, and more
    Message 1 of 48 , Jul 11, 2002
      Grady Booch wrote:
      > [egb> ] However, self-organization is decidedly a very fragile thing, as
      > virtually all the researchers I list above observe. For such emergence to
      > occur, you have to have a) the right, sufficient, and necessary set of
      > rules, b) you have to have the right set of initial conditions, and c)
      > there's hysterisis in the process.


      I disagree. I have been running Scrum teams for 6 years and
      about 2 years of Scrum and XP mixed together, and I have never felt
      stronger, and more certain in running software projects. All of my projects
      are based on self-organization and are not a "very fragile thing".

      But I do get to see a lot of defined-process and RUP failures -- they
      appear fragile to me, and I have a large set of anecdotal experience to
      illustrate my views.

      Grady Booch wrote:
      > [egb> ] Does the current state of agile stuff meet these criteria? No, not
      > yet.

      Well, it all depends, which "agile" we are talking about.

      From the Scrum and XP perspective I think they _do_ meet the

      Have you ever run an XP or a Scrum project, btw? You would know if
      you had.

      Grady Booch wrote:
      > [egb> ] To begin, are the elements of the Agile Manifesto (and its
      > manifestation in the 12-ish Agile principles) right (probably, but not in
      > all cases), sufficient (decidedly not - there is much about software
      > development that is simply not touched upon, and the discussions of
      > tailoring in this thread alone point out that we've not yet codified the
      > meta rules of agilism), and necessary (no...people here have pointed out
      > situations where you can ignore/vastly morph some of the agile
      > principles).

      The Agile Manifesto simply contains a summary of the agile principles
      17 guys could articulate in 2 days. It is a good start, but do not
      reflect all of the rules, values, practices, patterns, and principles,
      that are embedded into each of the agile methods.

      Grady Booch wrote:
      > [egb> ] With regard to having the right set of initial
      > conditions, this is a hard one, for processes, like the parable of
      > the seeds, sometimes fall on hard ground and fail to flourish...that's
      > not a fault of the process, but a consequence of the culture into
      > which that process is injected.

      Sounds like a "process" crisis to me, in the sense that you are trying
      to control through process things that are above and beyond its

      Grady Booch wrote:
      > [egb >] Finally, self-organization takes time and energy. Systems that
      > operate within the laws of physics self-organize in relative real time;
      > systems that operate within the laws of chemical interactions take a bit
      > more time; systems that operate within the laws of biology take a
      > long time (evolution); systems that operate within the laws of human
      > psychology take a wide range of time (social interactions at
      > a cocktail party versus global cultural trends). Agilism, IMO,
      > operates at the speed of human interaction.

      It works in practice. If you ran Scrum or XP projects you would know.

      Just ask the practitioners in this list.

      Grady Booch wrote:
      > [egb> ] So, I'm just cautioning you about distinguishing the value of
      > agilism based upon the self-organization of systems: it's a fragile thing,
      > easily disturbed by a variety of influences outside the control
      > of the agile principles.

      I disagree on two counts: a) it doesn't feel fragile in practice, and b)
      the agile principles are not the only thing at play.

      Grady Booch wrote:
      > [egb> ] I have been a part of and have also observed several software
      > development teams for which the experience was magical, but more
      > often than not, it is less than magical. Perhaps all process work
      > is about finding a way to recreate that magic over and over
      > again - but experience has shown that such magic is a very elusive thing.

      Perhaps is about thinking out of the "process" box :-)

      - Mike
    • Laurent Bossavit
      ... Controlled by whom ? Aye, there s the rub. ... Agreed. Here and now, given our skill and knowledge, it would be stupid. Do remember, though, that fairly
      Message 48 of 48 , Jul 25, 2002
        > As such, any meaningful method has to "embrace change" but perhaps
        > where we differ is that I would add "and do so in a controlled manner."

        Controlled by whom ? Aye, there's the rub.

        > if you are building a high rise, it would be infinitely stupid to start
        > with a pile of lumber and some hand tools and expect to be successful.

        Agreed. Here and now, given our skill and knowledge, it would be
        stupid. Do remember, though, that fairly simple biological organisms
        routinely build, with their bare appendages, constructions which are
        to them as a highrise is to us. Termites. Wasps.

        Conclusion : it is not stupid to expect that we might *develop* the
        knowledge and skill to build a highrise starting with a pile of
        lumber and some hand tools.

        Now. Metaphor is nice, but we are not, in fact, building highrises.
        We are building software, a different kind of thing. What transposes
        there from the metaphor, and what doesn't ?

        > To be clear as well, I have problems with the pseudoscientific sound
        > bites in your statement: "embracing change" strikes me too much like
        > the pop business edits of the 80's and 90's. I mean, what's the
        > alternative? "I'm a Luddite."

        I don't see where you get that. Could be a language problem - as a
        freakin' furriner I always double-check this kind of thing.

        Dictionary.com says : "embrace, to take up willingly or eagerly", or
        more interestingly, "to avail oneself of". Thus the alternatives are:
        "to accept change reluctantly", or even "not to avail oneself of the
        possibilities offered by change". Which is where you're leading with
        your "embrace change in a controlled manner".

        Dictionary.com says Luddite is "One who opposes technical or
        technological change". I think one could legitimately oppose some
        kinds of technical change - human cloning is routinely opposed by
        some people who, perhaps, might object to being labeled Luddites.

        I definitely don't think "embrace change" is vacuous. On the
        contrary, reading some Roberto Unger, who in the domain of social
        science says the same thing under the slogan "Plasticity into Power",
        I found more content in the position than I would have expected from
        a principle of software development.


        The greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the
        clarity and imagination to conceive that it could be different.
        Roberto Mangabeira Unger
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