Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lack of Engineering Practices Make 'Agile' Teams Fail

James Shore wrote a blog post that is among my TOP 5 in this quarter. Go read it! He argues that the industry sees so many agile projects fail because most teams that call themselves 'agile' mistake the real idea with the wrong set of practices. Maybe this quote says best what his article is about:
These teams say they're Agile, but they're just planning (and replanning) frequently. Short cycles and the ability to re-plan are the benefit that Agile gives you. It's the reward, not the method. These psuedo-Agile teams are having dessert every night and skipping their vegetables. By leaving out all the other stuff--the stuff that's really Agile--they're setting themselves up for rotten teeth, an oversized waistline, and ultimate failure. They feel good now, but it won't last.

This speaks from my heart. It's exactly what happened when I tried to turn a project 'agile' in a super waterfall organization (picking up this metaphor I'd say it's an Angel Falls organization). We will have technical debt to pay off for at least a decade. However, we found that out quite quickly ;-)
If you're looking for some method that is strong both in the management and engineering field, check out Evo by Tom Gilb. I know I recommended Mr. Gilb's work over and over again in the past 2 years, and it almost seems ridiculous. Be assured, I'm not getting paid by Tom :-)
To get a very clear perspective on iterative planning check out Niels Malotaux' Time Line.

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