Has the Agile wave finally broken??

"There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda... You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning...
And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave...
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back"

Hunter S Thompson - Fear and loathing in Las Vegas

I think about this quote sometimes - I remember as an Agile noobie thinking Agile was the answer- All those heavy weight processes and endless pages of spec had finally given way to something elegant. As a graphic designer I was brought up on the customer never really knowing what they wanted, The trick was to give them a series of choices and gradually adapt to what they were after in the first place, Ask them up front and they never know. When I started working with software I found it insane that people believed that a company could define what they wanted up front but that was the way it was done?

I saw Agile as the thing that fixed this but I find myself coming back to the above quote and wondering if, Like the San Francisco hippies we have hit the point where it has been taken over by big business and rendered meaningless as more and more process is inserted,

Previously there were no qualifications in Agile - You did it because you knew it made sense - It was never easy for people to adapt but we fought hard to do it because we could see it made sense, Now I get an email a day about someone who will certify me as a Blah certified agile guru for the one time basement price of £1111111 or some similar clap trap.

The elegance in agile is its simplicity - Why would I pay to have someone tell me do the most important things first and your customer may change their mind?

I accept that is somewhat of an over simplification but I find it curious how little work has been done on the role of testing in agile - It has become so fundamentally different to what it was before but when we started out in agile there were lots of statements about how the developers are agile so we don't need you as much because they will write better code now!

If thats the case how come I'm so damn busy these days?

Testing has changed, More than development or Project management, And many of the scrum smells and agile failures can be identified early via testings response, Classic signs like trying to move testing to the following sprint. Or claims that Automation is too expensive to do for <n> project, It is up to us to educate people and also to adapt to the changes. If we don't then the hippies fate will be waiting for us

"We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave," But it hasn't broken yet, it is down to us to see that it doesn't 

by Malcolm
August 13 2009
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