Friday, November 12, 2010

Apparently, Agile Is NOT Dead!

Yesterday I went to Agile Tour Israel. At the end of the day I was surprised, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much. Once again, being pessimistic saved the day!

The event organizers did all they could to push agile and show it as mainstream. Cynical as I am, I was surprised to see how agile gets adopted in big corporations. In the two case studies presented, going agile was an organizational management decision. The process of implementation sometimes hurts (beware the success of the pilot projects!), but organizations now tackle agile issues in disparate teams, globally. They now have sections of agile coaches internally, that are responsible for the implementation and improvement.

As organizations actually grow solutions internally, rather than just get consultants to drive the process – it’s a good sign for adoption. However, there was notably more focus on organizational processes, much more than on software development practices. Like I said many times before – scrum succeeds because it’s easier to explain to non-developers. Developer work is still considered black magic, and therefore not so easy to explain to management.

Let’s get that clear: You can’t succeed in your agile transition, if you don’t have the engineering practices in place. They go hand in hand, and half way will get you, well, half way.

Within the crowd you could see people from a different range of the agile persuasion – from being interested to adopters, and more important – modifiers. These are the people who tried and recognized that successful adoption is not about going by the book, but fitting the system to their organization.

Best presentation went to Mary Poppendieck. (although funnily enough, the auditorium was less crowded then – don’t people know who she is? Her presentation is what drew me to this conference in the first place.). For her presentation, I’ll devote a separate post.

All in all, a good conference. Good effort for the organizers, although with some glitches. I’m glad I went.

So, dear reader, and agile practitioner, what do you thing about the state of agile adoption?

Gil Zilberfeld

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