Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why are we having a "Post-Agile" debate?

I just read a post by Kurt Häusler to the Software Craftsmanship Google group this evening.

The background for this is a long-term debate about what exactly "Software Craftsmanship" means, and what it's major focus should be.  I think that Kurt did a great job spelling out two of the major points of view:

It seems a lot of people suffering from "agile-fatige" and looking for something post-agile are in two camps. One camp seems to be competent leaders working with poor developers. For them things like Scrum have bought some improvements in the organization and they despair that after all this "agility" the code is still crap. These people crave something like craftsmanship to light a fire amongst their developers. The other camp seems to be competent developers suffering under poor leadership. They see the XP practices and clean code as obvious to the point of being trivial, and wonder why people like Bob Martin are calling for more focus on code, when it is clear, to them, that future improvements lie in better management practices, better understanding of value streams and improved relations between customers, management and developers. These people are currently looking at things like lean and kanban, and finding a lot of valuable stuff there. 

My own perspective is that we don't really need a "post-agile" movement or focus.  Agile (with it's multiple meanings) is still not the norm in most organisations, large or small.  Getting organizations - particularly large organizations - to do more than pay lip service to agile methodologies should still be our main focus.

I wonder if the drive to come up with a "post-agile" methodology or movement is really being pushed so a new crop of developers can have their names associated with it.  Is it more of an exercise in branding than engineering or craftsmanship?
Photo by Lovefusion Photography