Thoughts on...the state of Agile in industry

Friday, March 22, 2019

By Director of Technology at Liberty IT, David Anderson.

Martin Fowler gave a keynote talk at Agile Australia in August 2018 and has shared the transcript on his blog, which is well worth a read.  The opening paragraphs are shared below which I hope encourages you to read it in full.  It’s quite a sobering observation on the state of Agile in Industry today and I can certainly identify with the themes. In summary, there are three sections:

Agile Industrial Complex – a great name. Related to another famous saying – there is no best practice, only good practice. Everyone has a different context, so it’s hard to identify an out-of-the-box solution for your complex problem. The fact that a single framework, applied prescriptively, can solve every problem is a fantasy. We (as an industry) need to push through this phase. It will be damaging and will create a lot of waste & failure (the wrong sort). Are you confident enough to adapt to your environment?

Technical Excellence – has this been lost? If you are writing software (and this is not always the best option), then you need to recognise that this is difficult and empower your technical experts to do it well. There are lots of techniques that refer to good practice in this regard. LIT have a lot of great examples in the LIT method. Are you confident enough to use the correct techniques, or will you drop them to go faster?

Products over Projects - we build things that last a long time (or they should). A project is a short, time-bound thing that executes a piece of work. A product is aligned to a business deliverable, often requires organisational change and may last years. It likely generates revenue and should be treated as a business asset. Products make money, projects cost money. It's very important that you appreciate the difference. Are you confident enough to increase revenue on a product?

Interesting points; what do you think? Does any of this resonate with you? Agile and the Agile community has always been Open & Honest. All three of these key points are things that we have observed and pushed through. Sometimes you only notice the storm after you have driven through it.

In Liberty IT, we take pride in ourselves and our practice. Always evolving & always improving.  If you would like to work in in Agile team to rapidly and effectively deliver great software that adds real value to our customers, take a look at our current vacancies if you would like to come join us


Transcript from Martin Fowler's keynote address at Agile Australia 2018:  

“How many people have seen me talk here before at Agile Australia?. And you came back? Wow, I'm impressed. If you've seen me talk before at Agile Australia, or indeed at any conference, you know that pretty much every time I give a talk, I call it "Software Design in the 21st Century", or something like that: because it's a vague title and I can talk about whatever I like. And I was going to do that again here, but I decided that I'm going to do something specific: to talk about where we are: the agile community in 2018. I decided I'd do not something that's a particularly deeply planned talk with lots of slides and clever diagrams and beautiful transitions - but just me yakking. Which I've done before, but it's been a while, so we'll see how we go.

As we look at the state of agile: at a surface level, things are looking very good.

As we look at the state of agile: in many ways, on a kind of surface level, things are looking very good. I mean, look at the size of this crowd for instance. We're huge, we're fitting in this big conference place - actually not fitting in very well because it was pretty crowded out there. You go to all sorts of places and you see agile scattered around. Somebody sent me a Harvard Business Review cover with "agile" on it. I mean, it's all over the place. That's a big shift from 10 years ago here, or even longer when we were in that ski place at Snowbird talking about what the hell we should call ourselves. And it sounds like success, but you talk to a lot of old-time agilists, people who were doing it before it was called "agile" back in the late 90s, and there's actually a lot of disquiet, a lot of disappointment, a lot of unhappiness in the air."

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