Agile Development Doesn’t Work
- How to build great software?
- Build a great team, and have them build it for you.
Dave Rooney, in one of his blog posts last year wrote “Waterfall Works“. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, he made a useful point. The waterfall style of development actually did, and continues to, deliver some projects successfully. Agile also delivers some projects successfully. Even in the absence of any particular style of development, some projects have been and continue to be delivered successfully. What conclusions can we draw from this observation? That projects are the common denominator for success? I don’t think so. So what is the common denominator for successful delivery of great software products?
Engaged, committed people.
People that really want to make a difference.
“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead
If you buy into this, then everything else pales into insignificance. Agile doesn’t matter, Waterfall doesn’t matter, processes in general don’t matter. People will find their own way. Some of those people will like Agile, and use it. Their success will come from the sweat of their brows and their commitment to making things work.
Actually, Agile started out from this premise. Software folks, distressed by the continual dilution of their energy, commitment and talents caused by dysfunctional ways of working, dysfunctional management, dysfunctional clients, etc. took matters into their own hands and “uncovered better ways“. Somewhere along the way since, this premise was lost.
So, why do we continue the specious and pointless arguments about which method, approach, style, is better? If we are going to argue (and I can’t see that ending anytime soon) then how about we start talking about how to get the best out of people? (By which, I mean, “how to arrange circumstances such that people can come together and discover what fulfilment means to each of them personally?”. About how best to organise and arrange the work such that, as Herzberg demands, we ensure that “people have good jobs to do”?
How about we stop studying processes, methods and tools, and rather study theories of motivation, engagement, sociology and psychology instead?
And how about we come together to explore these issues? Because I’m certain about at least one thing. Imposing yet another management fad on long-suffering workers is definitely not the way to go.