Friday, 29 September 2006

I've had some personal experience in the past couple of years - mostly all good - what some call "agile" programming styles. One thing I don't like much, however, is the sometimes "religious" slant that can invade agile development teams. If you think about it, an agile methodology that doesn't allow itself to be flexible is just about as non-agile as possible. In other words, agile zealots can at times defeat the benefits of the methodology.

The one thing I have found is truly necessary for any agile-ish method to work is 100% participation and buy-in on the part of all involved, from the workers all the way up through every layer of lead and management. Without that, it will fail eventually.

Steve Yegge lives up there in Washington and has written an excellent (and beautifully opinionated) piece about what he calls Good Agile and Bad Agile. If you're a developer or a manager of developers you'll either agree or disagree with Steve, probably strongly in whichever direction you lean. Regardless of your position, it's worth your time to read what he has to say.

I mean hey, he's so colorful, even if you don't have a clue what agile development is you can enjoy the writing. Heh. Forgive the language quoted (like I need to say that). Here's an excerpt:

... Up until maybe a year ago, I had a pretty one-dimensional view of so-called "Agile" programming, namely that it's an idiotic fad-diet of a marketing scam making the rounds as yet another technological virus implanting itself in naive programmers who've never read "No Silver Bullet", the kinds of programmers who buy extended warranties and self-help books and believe their bosses genuinely care about them as people, the kinds of programmers who attend conferences to make friends and who don't know how to avoid eye contact with leaflet-waving fanatics in airports and who believe writing shit on index cards will suddenly make software development easier.
You know. Chumps. That's the word I'm looking for. My bad-cholesterol view was that Agile Methodologies are for chumps.

But I've had a lot of opportunity to observe various flavors of Agile-ism in action lately, and I now think I was only about 90% right. It turns out there's a good kind of Agile, although it's taken me a long time to be able to see it clearly amidst all the hype and kowtowing and moaning feverishly about scrums and whatnot. I have a pretty clear picture of it now.

And you can attend my seminar on it for the low, low price of $499.95! Hahaha, chump!
No, just kidding. You'll only find seminars about the Bad kind of Agile. And if in the future you ever find me touring around as an Agile Consultant, charging audiences to hear my deep wisdom and insight about Agile Development, you have my permission to cut my balls off. If I say I was just kidding, say I told you I'd say that. If I then say I'm Tyler Durden and I order you not to cut my balls off, say I definitely said I was going to say that, and then you cut 'em right off.

I'll just go right ahead and tell you about the Good Kind, free of charge.

It's kinda hard to talk about Good Agile and Bad Agile in isolation, so I might talk about them together. But I'll be sure to label the Good kind with a happy rat, and the Bad kind with a sad dead rat, so you'll always know the difference.

How can you not read what this guy has to say? That's just a start - read it all on Steve's blog.

Add/Read: Comments [0]
Comments are closed.