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Is the Agile Community Struggling With Their Identity?

29 Apr 2011 Posted by Ben Snyder CEO

It has been over 10 years since the Agile Manifesto was written and signed by its creators. The methodology that followed has helped numerous companies and projects succeed in delivering quality software products.

agile identity crisisEven though agile is a great way to develop software why has it not been more widely adopted? Could it be because of the way it is perceived? When the Agile Alliance first created the manifesto it defined the new agile approach by contrasting it against the standard approach, the waterfall methodology.

Back then, it was necessary to do so to establish a new way of doing things in an environment dominated by the status quo. Now, 10 years later, the community has not changed their ways one bit. Why can’t the agile community define itself without referencing something else? As a result, agile is seen as a rebellion against the status quo instead of a great way to develop software.

Another way the agile community is struggling with its identity is that many of the principals espoused in agile are “mushy” because they deal with culture and values. Many companies today don’t have a culture and set values that are congruent with what is proclaimed by the agile community. As a result when companies consider adopting agile the approach seems too “loosey-goosey” for most people. This is a shame as the agile approach, less the culture and values, is still a great way to develop software.

If agile is to grow and become an indispensable development methodology its community is going to have to resolve these identity issues. How are they going to do this? The answer to that question is difficult but it’s worth pondering.

One comment

  1. Keil Wilson06-14-11

    I’ve seen agile being used in the context of a modification or enhancement to standard PMM. In our organization, we still use the PMI project approach, but agile fits into the planning and execution phases as just another tool the PM can use to get a development project done. I agree with you that it’s a disservice to Agile to try to replace an organization’s PMM with an Agile approach like Scrum or XP. They should work together. Agile doesn’t fit every project. When inventing a new product, however, the Agile toolset is very powerful. Organizations doing application development would be smart to consider using it.

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