Left And Right
The Manifesto for Agile Software Development is rightly credited with launching the agile revolution and catalyzing the birth of methodologies like XP, DSDM, and Scrum. The following four major tenets supposedly underpin every single agile methodology.
In theory, not many people (with the exception of a pure bred bureaucrat) could argue effectively against preferring the soft left side over the hard right side of the table.
In practice, the situation is often much different than the theory. While espousing the need to operate in accordance with the left side, many so-called leaders stick to their 20th century guns behind the rhetoric. They demand process and tool compliance, dumpsters full of useless forms/documents/metrics, formal, penalty-laden contracts, and preposterously huge, upfront project plans.
BD00 posits that the reasons managers and executives demand conformance to the tenets on the right while espousing the ones on the left are one or more of the following:
- They don’t sincerely believe that the stuff on the left can possibly lead to higher quality products and faster delivery times than the stuff on the right.
- They can’t shed their personal fears of loss of control and loss in stature if they switch operating modes from the right to the left.
- They have no idea how to ignite the shift to the left (other than rhetoric).
- Their hands are tied because big customers (like the government and Fortune 500 companies) demand all the hulking, time-consuming, and expensive stuff on the right.
- They’ve made tons of money operating in accordance with the principles on the right both before and (many years) after the introduction of the agile manifesto.
Maybe that’s why I chuckle every time this quote comes to mind:
Everybody’s doing agile these days, even those who aren’t. – Scott Ambler
What do you think, dear reader? Are there any other reasons that should be added to the list? Do you think that the ratio of fake-to-real agile orgs is high or low? Is it increasing or decreasing with time?