Spot the Agile cowboys

We live in interesting times.

Microsoft is selling Linux-based software. Banks are adopting Agile.

I must admit that I’ve had a mixed relationship with Agile, but I was pleasantly surprised after attending Ilan’s Scrum training this week. I left with a sense of relief as common sense seems to prevail.

Agile isn’t about speed; it’s about delivering business value as soon as possible. It’s all about de-risking your project delivery. Who wouldn’t want that?

Agile doesn’t exclude planning; you still need a plan, but, importantly, you can choose when to detail the needed parts of the plan. Yes, architects have historically been known for trying to detail too much, too early, but that’s the anti-pattern of decision-making without proper understanding of context. Good plans stop you from hitting the wall; and a good architecture is part of a good plan.

Agile doesn’t exclude documentation. Agile is all about good team communication, but you cannot make everyone part of the team; time (before and after the project), location (different floors, buildings, cities, or countries) and organisation (external stakeholders e.g., regulator and customers, or just plain size) will always be challenging – have a back-up plan. Good documentation is still a good form of communication; and one of the reasons we prosper.

Spot the Agile cowboys next time you review the Definition of Done or attend a stand-up.


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