August 20, 2007

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Agile Architects, Agile 2007 and Post-Agile Credentials

After a couple of weeks, during which I've been preoccupied with other things, I've finally settled down to pour out some thoughts that have been building up inside my brain (which is where I tend to keep them these days).

First of all, I reckon this half-baked idea I've kicked around about the architect as a design quality tester is perhaps not quite as half-baked as I first thought. Feedback from various reputable sources, and many more disreputable sources, suggests that the idea has some resonance within the wider development community - just not among architects, it would appear. (No surprise there, though). I'm very much focused on this now, over and above every other intellectual pursuit, so you can expect to be literally bored to death with me harping on and on about it over the coming months. (Again, no suprise there, then). For those of you who would rather watch a slow-motion film of paint drying very slowly than read about design principles, metrics, refactoring and source code analysis, I might slip in the odd photograph of a famous celebrity to relieve the monotony for you.

Look at this picture of Paris Hilton and try to forget that I ever mentioned metrics

Secondly, the Agile 2007 conference took place last week in Washington D.C., in the now far-less-accessible United States of America. I've read a few of the blogs and had a few emails with feedback about this event, and I think there are two things that might improve it for next year:

1. Get a fresh line-up in the program. By all accounts, it's getting to be like a Rolling Stones concert - there's a couple of new songs, sure - but mainly just golden oldies. (Everybody sing along now - 'Do the simp-lest thing that could poss-ib-ly work...")

2. Hold it somewhere where foreign visitors are made a little more welcome. That rules the UK out, too, I'm sorry to say. Hey, how about France?

Finally, it's been pointed out to me that David J Anderson, author of Agile Management, now claims to be post-Agile. And a couple of people, knowing that we don't see eye to eye on everything - although I have the utmost respect for him as a professional - have asked me if I'm happy about him wearing that particular t-shirt.

They also point to other people who have recently given presentations claiming that post-Agile means "Behaviour-driven Development" or "Domain-driven Development" or "Story-driven Development" or "Lean" or whatever. Surely I'm unhappy about that, they suggest.

Well, yes and no. Certainly I don't agree with half of what David J Anderson says, and I'm sure the feeling's mutual. Personally, I think his ideas are rooted in the misguided notion of software development as manufacturing, and I don't buy into that at all. But the whole point of post-Agilism is that it is anarchy - total freedom to say what you like about software development, provided you're willing to be called to account. If David is happy to have his ideas put to the test, and graciously accepts the evidence when it contradicts his theories, then I'm happy about that. I'm also very happy that he has ideas of his own and is ploughing his own furrough, rather than blindly following the XP/Scrum pack. That is a good thing, even if I personally believe he's ploughing the wrong furrow some of the time. I'm just as likely to be wrong as he is on some of these issues*. So, using the power invested in me** as High Priest of Post-Agilism, I officially declare that David J Anderson is, indeed, post-Agile. Now where did I put that sword?

As for the other examples, well I'm distinctly unhappy about post-Agilism becoming another brand or banner that can be abused to sell Method X, Y or Z. No method, process, practice or tool can be "post-Agile" in of itself. It is "post-Agile" to simply do what works for you. BDD, DDD, SDD, ADD and all the other DD's - and, as those who know me will affirm, I'm generally a fan of DD's - work well in some situations and work less well in others. It's not what they are that makes them post-Agile, it's how you apply them.

* I'm not, though ;-)

** By myself, which is apparantly how it's done these days
Posted 13 years, 3 months ago on August 20, 2007