Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rolls Royce or Ford Model T?

This question applies to every successful idea.  Some ideas only make sense for a limited audience of Olympic-level talent, and others scale beautifully for a large population.  For example, the upscale resort at pristine Musha Cay, a tiny tropical island near Bahamas, accommodates no more than 24 guests, while Disney World hosts an average of over 52,000,000 visitors per year.

The philosophy of Agile Software Development started as a bright idea of a few very talented, very engaged developers who wanted to deliver highest-quality software while providing better value to their customers.  And so they did, with very powerful results.  They also shared their idea of Agile with others.

But is Agile a Musha Cay kind of idea, or is it more like a Disney World?  Will Agile Software Development benefit just the brightest, the most talented, hard-working and engaged, or will it help every average Mort and Elvis and their clients to enjoy better success?

In its early days, Agile was invented and embraced primarily by a small group of developers, the best and the brightest, and the most engaged. Through their painstaking work, Agile slowly found (or not) its way through the traditional organizations and processes, one conversation at a time. 

Now Agile arrives from the top, carefully tailored for the management approval, and is swiftly installed in IT departments, whether the entire cadre of employees want it or not, in one big organizational shake-up.  Is it the same Agile that worked so beautifully for the most talented few who embraced it, fought for it, and followed it with their whole hearts? Probably not.  But is it better than the alternative, that is, no Agile? 

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