Day 1 at XP 2006 conference, part 3

The last event for today was the keynote speech by Brian Hanly (acutally it was Sean Hanly who did the keynote, thanks Lasse for the correction), founder and director of Exoftware which is a major sponsor for the conference.
His point in the talk was that Agile needs to cross the chasm of adoption from the Enthusiasts and Visionaries to the Pragmatists (implicit in the talk was that Pragmatists are managers and top-level managers). In order to do that the Agile crowd needs to start talking in a language that the “pragmatists” understand, in papers/publications that are important for those same pragmatists. For Brian this requires that Agilists need to understand that we can’t use phrases like “You organizational stack is corrupted” or “You have to refactor your organization” or “Your management build is broken”. His argument is that we need to be able to speak a language that people understand in order to get our message across. He went on to narrow the point down and to state that we should from now on use stories when communicating the benefits we see in Agile to Pragmatists.

I must say that I agree with him in above points. However he went on to say that we, Agilists, need to make this change to be able to more successfully sell the idea of Agile software development to the whole software community and to avoid ending up in the “graveyard” or. In this point I disagree, I don’t think that there is an intrinsic value in having Agile methods distributed to the whole industry. I believe it will happen, but I don’t think it should be an Agilist’s mission to disseminate Agile methods. The methods will be adopted _if_ and only _if_ they are proven to be effective.

I also believe that Agile is just a step towards an even better way to develop software, and I would not like to get bogged down in “evangelizing” the world at large and miss the bigger picture which is “we need to perfect software development every day”, “Agile” is just the word of the day. Tomorrow I want to be where the best results are, Agile is just a stepping stone, even if a very important and even fundamental one.

Let’s not “fall in love” with Agile, let’s “fall in love” with improving the software development process.

One thought on “Day 1 at XP 2006 conference, part 3

  1. I agree. Improving the software development practises, in one way or another, should be the main goal. Nevertheless, Agility seems to be doing quite a good job with this at the moment.

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