'

Agile programming power everywhere, no thanks!

Following on from a comment I made in relation to a post by Richard Stobart from Unboxed Consulting last week when he asked whether Agile has done enough to promote itself, I have an additional rant to rave in this general direction.The reasons for my cogitations on this topic are that some vendors appear to think that Agile needs an occasional boost, like it’s already some kind of floundering fish in need of an oxygen boost.

Following on from a comment I made in relation to a post by Richard Stobart from Unboxed Consulting last week when he asked whether Agile has done enough to promote itself, I have an additional rant to rave in this general direction.

The reasons for my cogitations on this topic are that some vendors appear to think that Agile needs an occasional boost, like it’s already some kind of floundering fish in need of an oxygen boost.

If you look back at the last time I interviewed IBM’s Agile practice leader Scott Ambler, you’ll see that there’s lots of passion attached to this subject. But some of it is almost ‘single-minded’ passion that is hell bent on Agile everywhere. Possibly leading us to down a narrow one-way alley where the scrum can’t move and is in danger of imploding upon itself.

As the ever-affable Jon Collins of Freeform Dynamics said, “If something goes wrong {… with Agile…} there can be a domino effect on other parts of the project. To all intents and purposes, Agile approaches can be intense and rewarding, but the one thing they are reliant on is a level of structure and co-ordination.”

It’s not just a quick fix ‘chuck an Agile team at it and have some power scrums’ one size fits all solution then – and as I said before, don’t necessarily expose the underlying foundation of the total application ecosystem to Agile. So how do we know when to use Agile (or insert other programming methodology of choice) or not?

As US blogger Steve Yegge said some time back now, “When I was growing up, cholesterol was bad for you. Nowadays there’s good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.”

Perhaps this ‘confusion’ is the raison d’etre for Stobart’s company today then? Perhaps it’s the same reason why IBM has a ‘practice leader’ (I'm sure they forgot to slip the term evangelist into that job title somewhere?) and why they all blog a) so much and b) with a fair degree of style.

IBM’s Ambler has a blog that ranks globally alongside many professional journalists including (ah-hem) my own in the realm of software application development – and Unboxed Consulting is doing its level best to bring sexy cartoon inspired chic to the world of coding almost single handedly I would say.

So nuclear power, no thanks – but Agile power, yes please but not all the time? Something like that isn’t it? Or am I showing my age?