Agile Dance or Dancing Around?

James Shore, a consultant in agile methodology, wrote an article in which he is musing about "The Decline and Fall of Agile" (http://jamesshore.com/Blog/The-Decline-and-Fall-of-Agile.html)

One of the comments he is making is what I've been saying all along and find it worthwile quoting here: "But because Scrum works in short cycles and doesn't include any engineering practices, it's very easy for teams using Scrum to throw out design. Up-front design doesn't work when you're using short cycles, and Scrum doesn't provide a replacement. Without continuous, incremental design, Scrum teams quickly dig themselves a gigantic hole of technical debt."

The point I feel making here is that many of those consultants have been introducing this as a "Methodology" where it isn't one. In my opinion, a Methodology comprises three dimensions which are:

  • Technology, consisting of concepts, notations, techniques, and tools
  • Process with Deliverables, the steps to be performed and the results to be delivered.
  • Organization, how the entepreise is organized to accomodate this

The Agile method does'nt say anything about technology and very little about the organization. Yet at one of my clients, consultants successfully pushed it as a methodology and in the process, sound engineering practices not only got thrown out, but actually never made it into the now failing startup company.

 The sad part is that those consultants can now run around and save those teams as James Shore states it: "Other consultants I've talked to report the same experience. "Rescuing Scrum teams keeps me in business," joked one colleague. It's funny because it's true."

I don't even want to list the plethora of methodologies that I have seen coming and going. I can't wait for what is next.