People love slogans. They love slogans because they need something to hang on to. A stake in the ground, a beacon they can point their sinking ship to in times of crisis.
The latest such beacon is AGILE.
I must admit, having been implementing software projects in both Agile and Waterfall environments, I’m not a fanatic, one way or another. Horses for courses. Nothing in life is absolute so there is absolutely no reason to assume that one model or another will always deliver better results – it all depends on the circumstances, more specifically the readiness of the specific environment and organizational maturity to operate within the operational constraints imposed / required by that methodology or the other.
If you gauge the public opinion, as reflected in recent blog articles, you would conclude that the wind is blowing Agile. Experienced project managers are progressively casting their attention at this model and the message they are sending to their devoted readership is “agile is good” and “agile can solve your ailing problems” – so much so that the PMI has now decided to jump on the publicity wagon and institute yet another certification – yes, you guessed it, Agile PM certification.
I wouldn’t be overly concerned about this fashionable trend if not for the fact that such public relation campaign does matter. As a recent article in the NewScientist (“Following the herd actually shifts your opinion“) shows, such publications carry a lot of weight as they are likely to result in shifting in public opinion for no other reason than that it gets publicity and air-time.
One thing I find really funny / annoying is the attempt by some writers to re-write their experience and mask it behind “we’ve always applied Agile in our projects, sure we didn’t quite call it Agile, but if you look at the processes we’ve used, they were just like what Agile prescribes”.
So here’s my stand on this question: Agile is good, but so are other software development methodologies, provided that you apply them appropriately and provided that you manage them correctly. One way or another you’ve got to do things ‘right’. If you rely on the methodology to save your day, think again. It is not the methodology that brings the results but the way people implement that methodology.
Think about it!