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Re: Has Agile become a dirty word?

The agile movement has come a long way from the religious fervour that it seemed to attract at the turn of the millennium! Its benefits are better understood, as are the challenges it brings. Of course that's not to say that it's still not widely misunderstood (or willfully misused).

I've seen it misused in the way you suggest - as a sales angle which then isn't applied correctly. Similarly, I've seen development teams hide behind it to get everyone else off their back.

I guess that's where the problems come from - agile is becoming a byword for a lack of transparency, where development teams hide behind it and outsourcers obscure their commitments. Of course it's not supposed to be like that! It's supposed to be the reverse: a contract between stakeholders and implementors based on trust and feedback.

So what to do about it? I've found information is the key. Often you'll hear something like, "we do Scrum." Ask them what that means. Then tell them what it really means. There's nothing wrong with having a non-standard agile process. Indeed, agile methodologies advocate changing the process! But it's a process nonetheless and everyone has a specific role to play and they should know what it is.

It's also important to state how much work agile is! I've found that being a scrum master, albeit with fairly new scrum teams, takes a lot of time: getting the product and sprint backlogs updated, checking progress, rounding up the team, scheduling reviews and retrospectives and so on. If you're not investing any time in keeping the process going then can you really be surprised that it's letting you down?

Agile's also a hard sell - it takes the sort of trust that outsourcers will struggle to build with a client so perhaps it's no wonder that it gets subverted at the early stages of a project and goes downhill from there!

The software development industry is also different to how it was a mere 8 years ago - agile methodologies are still great, but they aren't (and don't claim to be) applicable to all teams or projects.

Re: Has Agile become a dirty word?

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