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Friday, June 23

Bloggery

I've recently been reading the blog over at BurberryAndBroccoli.blogspot.com. One can only assume that this is a satiric view of the Agile movement and its impact on software engineering. Although I can easily relate its heavily sarcastic tirade to my experiences at my last company, I can't agree with its viewpoint. The writer assumes that all Agile is bad software engineering and that its only purpose is to be a fad which sells consultancy and books.

This is a classic example of paranoia. There's no doubt that any dogmatic application of even a sound set of principles will result in much resentment. However, there's no real evidence that Agile software engineering is based on dogma. As Kevin Rutherford explains at Silk and Spinach, dogma is inevitable, but not necessarily the intention. I think Kevin is right to point out that he doesn't really understand the psychology. If software people had better people skills, they'd probably not be software people.

The sad fact is that some processes are beyond saving if you focus only on the process. Having moved on from my life Newcastle, and found myself missing a number of the things we used to do in my last job (as well as definitely NOT missing many of the others), I can see why Agile is good and why it turned out so bad for us in Newcastle. Almost all of it was down to people problems. Where Agile intends to mould itself around the existing people and requirements, it only works when people equally want it and trust each other and management, and where management feel the same. This wasn't the case in the failing company I left. I think that matters have improved since I left, so maybe I was part of the problem.

These days I'm part of the solutions to stuff, working in a new environment using newer (although fundamentally the same) tools.

I shall watch the Burberry and Broccoli blog unfold with interest, but it seems a bit like sour grapes to me.

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