Agile Set Me Free

My current client is thinking about adopting a more Agile approach to software development. We have had initial discussions and passed out books to read. We have been running an XP project for them for 6 months so they have all witnessed its success.

Someone found an article written in July 2002 that goes to town discrediting XP. So, I need to spend time trying to understand this 4 your old paper and trying to explain where it is misunderstanding the Agile proposals.

This is when it hit me. All the comments the author makes fall into one category. Fear. Fear of change. Fear that iterations make projects unmanageable. Fear that less documentation will cripple the maintenance effort. Fear that Test Driven Development will not produce a perfect object model. All of the answers stem from the base feelings that we have developed over years of working with requirements that changed and software that we kept on finding bugs in. We have beaten ourselves up so much about how little discipline we have and how bad we are at talking to the customer that we can't imagine that the opposite approach might be better. We are just not good enough to execute the perfect process we have been working at all these years.

All the complaints I read about Agile take everything it says at face value and fail to see the depth that it is suggesting. Release early is miss-read as ignore requirements. Allow the customer to change requirements is miss-read as never knowing what you are about to release. Don't write irrelevant documentation is immediately the terrifying idea that there will be no documentation.

So much confusion from simple, practical improvements in a process.

Agile is a liberation of our freedom to produce great software. Agile is a reconnecting with the essence that is writing software to solve business problems. Agile gives us the excuse to succeed when all we had before was more disappointed customers and another bug to fix.

Dam this job could be depressing. I have always loved programming but hated the job. It never made any sense until Agile opened my eyes. Actually, to be more specific, Mark Windholts opened my eyes when he pitched the test first practice to CinJug. Dude, you rock.

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