The CHAOS report says agile projects succeed three times more than non-agile, reports Mick Cohn. Good news, until I recalled that the CHAOS manifesto defines success as on budget, on time, and with all planned features. Show me an agile project that has all the original features in it, I dare you. Agility has change built-in, which makes the CHAOS manifesto definition a contradiction in terms.
Then the State of Agile review tells us things are on the up and up, agile-wise. And read that: 70% of those doing some kind of agile development are doing unit testing!
Not likely. They may be doing some kind of automated testing, and may call what they are doing “unit testing”, but most of them don’t.
That also applies to “scrum”. Or “agile’’.
Let me present you with my half-empty glass. One of the signs of agile’s decline, is the incorporation of “agile” into non-agile orgs in a non-agile fashion. A part of the process is taking agile terms and “fitting” them into the company’s existing culture.
The indoctrination of agile by the non-agile business changes the original meaning of the terms and the values behind them. So in most companies, “Agile” means more stand-ups, and less working software. The agile adoption starts, and sometimes ends, with communication processes, rather than the adoption of software practices. Effectiveness is what business people understand and crave. Working software to them can be done by typing faster.
The problem, is that at some point, this kind of “agile” will fall short on the promise real “agile” made: to save the business from destructive projects. And when these failures accumulate, agile will be the scapegoat, with or without quotation marks. Then, we, the ambassadors of agile, will need to find new ways to rebuild the trust given to us by business, but lost because of misuse.
The irony is that the whole process is iterative. We’ll rename agile, show results, business will show interest, try to take over, succeed in the beginning, fail eventually, back to square one.
But these cycles take years, even decades. Hopefully we’ll be here to see the next round.