Agile – Theory vs. Practice


My Agile Manifesto

by John Kerr for Zwerit OOD, Sofia, Bulgaria

Agile - Theory vs. Practice

I am not the first person to publish an Agile lament on the Internet — there will be many more after me. Failure and pain are common on the road to software agility.

Before my rant, a quick (and simplified) summary of Agile history:

1. A group of software nerds rebelled against “the way we’ve always done things” (waterfall) and publishes the oft-quoted Agile Manifesto and its Principles

2. During a tech boom, many development teams adopted this Agile mindset as a non-traditional way to build and sell software products

3. Many high-profile startups succeeded with Agile (and got wealthy doing so)

4. Agile developed a cult-like following with religion-like ceremonies

5. Large corporations learned to co-opt this new religion into their own software development practices

6. Agile became even more trendy with customers and shareholders demanding “transformation”

7. Agile consulting businesses sprouted up everywhere

8. Agile became famous for being famous

My manifesto:

1. Ignore the jumbled mess of process frameworks like SAFe and highly-paid consultants’ jargon

2. Read all you can on the tradeoffs of agile processes, principles, roles, ceremonies, tools, etc. (*most companies claiming agility cannot and / or will not cede decision making power to their development teams)

3. Evaluate your market, customers, product(s), team, culture, and skill sets to map a path for your custom agile journey

4. Talk to software professionals in your network who have made the journey already (*some of the most valuable testimonials will be from those who have failed)

5. True agility comes with a custom fit of processes, skills, empowerment, and accountability — in short, “what’s possible” for your team

6. Finding the right agility formula for your team will require iterative experimentation, introspection, continuous improvement, and saying “NO!” to the Agile religious cult