Be agile – forget the Manifesto


One fact is: The world around us is moving faster and faster, and so we must learn to become agile (in software development, but also in project management and everywhere else).

Fact is also: The still ongoing, now already more than 10 years old discussion about how to be agile (especially when developing software) so far did not generate much progress.

The reason for this sad fact clearly is that the Agile Manifesto is leading us into a wrong, less professional direction.

Why this is so and why, therefore, we need to focus on the goal of Agile rather than on the misleading way suggested by the Manifesto, is convincingly explained in the document The New (2011) Definitions of Agile.

To read that paper (2 pages only) is a MUST for everyone interested in Agile.

By far the best introduction to Agile is the short article Best Practice Agile.

 

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Comments

  • PM Hut  On October 19, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Hi,

    Why do you think there must be two definitions of Agile: one for the software developer and one for the project manager?

    • Gebhard Greiter  On October 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      We need two definitions because we have two inherently different tasks:

      The developer’s task is a purely technical one: He is to create a system that will satisfy the user (and should be easy to maintain even after the original developers are no longer available).

      The project manager’s task however is, first of all, to make the project a political as well as a financial success. This is a quite different task. Even more: what it means to be successful in this sense will depend on whether the manager is on contractor’s side, on customer’s side, or in a neutral position representing both.

      Especially in a fixed-price development project, the contractor will certainly not be interested in letting the requirements specification become a moving target (though this might well be in the best interest of other stakeholders).

      In short: Managers responsible for financial constraints will need to be agile in a different sense than a developer who may see himself responsible only for creating best possible quality (user satisfaction and everything needed to minimize the software’s total cost of ownership far beyond the end of the current project).

    • Gebhard Greiter  On October 20, 2011 at 10:34 am

      In other words:

      For a developer, being agile is easy: Just listen to learn what the users need or want. Be prepared to implement exactly this (even if it seems to be a moving target).

      For a project manager (who is responsible for deadlines and prices agreed) things are far from being that easy: He or she will have to reconcile the interests of all the stakeholders involved. To do this successfully a certain amount on requirements documentation is clearly needed.

      The Manifesto’s focus is (only) on the developer cooperating with the user.

      To stress the fact that developers cannot become more agile as the type of contract (and the managers) will allow them to be, may well become more obvious if there is a dedicated definition for agile management.

      Would you agree?

  • Gebhard Greiter  On January 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    The Manifesto silently ignores the fact that to promptly react on client’s changing business requirements will cost money (a fact leading to problems if the contract is a fixed price contract).

    Agile evangelists, especially the Manifesto, so far do nothing to make clients understand and accept that the developer’s promise to promptly react on updated requirements is a value well worth to be payed for.

  • Gebhard Greiter  On September 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Please read also what Forrester says

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