I enjoyed Mary Poppendiecks’ presentation at xp2004 about crossing the chasm a
lot. Mary’s advice was to not position agile against waterfall, but
against chaos. I found that sound advice, but very hard to follow.
I gave Joel Spolsky’s “great software writing” to a friend, and he came
back to me yesterday after having read a group is its’ own worst enemy
by Clay Shirky:
The second basic pattern that Bion detailed: The identification and
vilification of external enemies. This is a very common pattern. Anyone
who was around the Open Source movement in the mid-Nineties could see
this all the time. If you cared about Linux on the desktop, there was a
big list of jobs to do. But you could always instead get a conversation
going about Microsoft and Bill Gates. And people would start bleeding
from their ears, they would get so mad.
It seems waterfall is to agile as microsoft was to open source…
So even if someone isn’t really your enemy, identifying them as an
enemy can cause a pleasant sense of group cohesion.
(second quote also from Clay Shirky )
I recently got an interview at a prospective client because of a
reference from someone on ‘the other side’ that I haven’t even met yet. When
I am getting anti-waterfall feelings, I try to remember the ‘other’
people are also striving to build better software.
Which makes us allies with different points of view, rather than enemies.
I know. I was on the ‘other’ side once. I laughed at the waterfall2006 site, because I recognized some of the mistakes I have made (and I will continue to make interesting mistakes ‘agile’ or otherwise. That’s one of my ways to learn). What about you?