Agile development. Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay. I’ve enjoyed a great deal of success thanks to agile software development and agile project management methods, but here are 10 things I hate about Agile!
1. Saying you’re doing Agile just cos you’re doing daily stand-ups. You’re not doing agile. There is so much more to agile practices than this! Yet I’m surprised how often I’ve heard that story. It really is remarkable.
2. Worrying about the difference between ‘Agile’ (big A) and ‘agile’ (small a). You mean you spell it with a big A, omg you’re so not cool! The differentiation is between Agile methods and being ‘agile’, in the true sense of the word. Most people probably don’t get the subtlety. When people split hairs about this it gets on my nerves and makes so-called agilists sound like a bunch of overly-religious nerds.
3. Thinking that agile is a silver bullet and will solve all your problems. That’s so naiive, of course it won’t! Humans and software are a complex mix with any methodology, let alone with an added dose of organisational complexity. Agile development will probably help with many things, but it still requires a great deal of skill and there is no magic button.
4. Claiming to be Agile when you’re clearly not ‘agile’. Yes, we’re doing all the major agile practices, but we’re not flexible and we don’t seem to understand the underlying agile principles. Were agile in practice but don’t demonstrate the values of openness, attention to quality, collaboration, team spirit, etc.
5. People who are anti-agile but with nothing constructive to say about why. I hate that. I’ve had a few turn up here and enlighten us all with their intellectual comments, such as ‘snake oil’ or ‘agile is a hoax’. Losers!
6. Blaming agile – “I tried it once and didn’t like it”. Projects are difficult. Some projects may even fail, even if you are using agile project management methods. As I said earlier, agile is not a silver bullet. It’s important not to blame agile when things go wrong, just as it’s important not to claim it’s the saviour for all of your ills. Don’t blame the process. It’s a bit like bad workmen blaming their tools. It’s not big and it’s not clever!
7. Using agile as an excuse – “no we can’t do that, cos it’s not Agile”. “No I’m sorry, we don’t do it that way here’. Following the agile process without fail regardless of the circumstances – even if it’s contrary to what the situation really requires for the business or for the customer. If the process is the most important thing, above all else, that’s not agile!
8. People who think they’re smart enough to adapt agile processes before they’ve really got enough experience to understand how and *why* it works. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but one that should be resisted. Otherwise it’s so easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater!
9. People who use agile as an excuse for having no process or producing no documentation. If documents are required or useful, there’s no reason why an agile development team shouldn’t produce them. Just not all up-front; do it as required to support each feature or iteration. JFDI (Just F’ing Do It) is not agile!
10. People who know more about agile development than me. They’re so smug.