Saturday, June 21, 2008

Some fun agile observations

1. I attended a proposal meeting yesterday. There was a guy there from Axis Point explaining agile software development to some of the people there. I was surprised that there are people nominally working in the IT industry that haven't ever heard of it, 7 years on from Snowbird. I am not surprised that many of the people who think they knew what Agile is have no idea whatsoever and just equate it with "going faster".

2. I think proposing software concepts like Enterprise Service Catalogs seems decidedly un-agile. No one really wants that crap. Just publish, document, and version some HTTP APIs for your apps. 100% of real developers would take some sample code that uses your service API over a catalog.

3. I was reading "The Toyota Way" this morning. Just the foreword and the preface while my kid was at Lil' Kickers. Some choice paraphrasing- Page xii: Embrace change. Page xv: None of the individual elements are special, but system as a whole is important. Success derives from balancing the role of people in an organizational culture that expects and values their continuous improvemnts, with a technical system focused on high value added flow. Did Kent Beck ever work there?

4. I've been getting some flak from one of my business partners because I can't get agile implemented in any useful fashion on the current project that I am working on. We're dealing with multiple several hundred page requirements documents that are written into the contract. And they all suck. Agile has to start earlier- in the contracting phase, as Alistair Cockburn (pronounced "Coe-burn") pointed out. Regardless, there is mandatory scrum training- we must be able to pretend that we are agile.

5. As I recently twittered, my Wii Fit thinks I'm a "yoga master" but in reality I can't touch my toes (without bending my knees). I think there is a good analogy for agile there- I love it, I just don't live it.