What’s The Deal With Agile?

Traditional product development methodologies rely on the “big bang” delivery process. Sadly, this tends to cause the “oh, hamburgers!” moments when it turns out that the customers don’t like what they got after waiting 6 months for the product.

Agile was supposed to solve that by working in iterations, to “fail fast”, get frequent feedback, and adjust. Wash, rinse, repeat. This is a great idea on paper but, as usual, reality ruins everything.

YouTube is full of the videos making fun of Agile, Agile is Dead talks, and even the Agile Manifesto creators “disowning” it. Twitter is full of posts like “you’re doing it wrong!”, “there are many flavors of Agile”, “Agile is waterfall with micromanagement”. So, is Agile a good or a bad thing and are you doing it “right”?

The article Agile / Scrum is a failure by Richi Jennings points the main problem that matches my own experience as well:

The Agile Manifesto paints an alluring picture. … The problem is, it’s almost always implemented in workplaces devoted to the bottom line, not to workers’ well-being[…]

[…]Taken to heart [it] means that anything larger than a developer can do in two weeks is infeasible. This often happens when the team building the software is not considered [as] stakeholders.

No wonder developers end up with “post traumatic scrum syndrome” when instead of creativity the process becomes all about the story points.

Main benefit of Agile is the product focus. When this is forgotten, the methodology doesn’t matter anymore. If your vision of “Agile” is a development sweatshop, then sorry, its failure is on you. JP