Snatch the Baton. Run!

Snatch the Baton. Run!


It was another time in this same place, but as a young teen, having my left ear pierced was the biggest “fuck you Dad” I could have imagined pulling off.

It was a statement of rebellion and non-conformity. I was mad as hell and I wasn’t gonna take it anymore!

Mum took me to have it done one day before Dad got home from work. She was making a statement of her own. Eventually both of my ears were pierced many times as my punk gene kicked in. I still wear them today, although (as with so many things), George Carlin sums it up perfectly.

“Another tip for the men. The thing with the earring? It’s over. It’s been over for a long time. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. It was supposed to piss off the squares. The squares are wearing them now! It doesn’t mean anything.”

Agile feels the same way these days, or at least what agile has come to be.

1999: There’s an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in a growing segment of the software development community. Established and popular methods used for planning, building, testing and maintaining software products are proving cumbersome and ill-applied. A developer led revolution is afoot.

2014: There’s an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in a growing segment of the software development community. Established and popular methods used for planning, building, testing and maintaining software products are proving cumbersome and ill-applied. A developer led revolution is afoot.

Revolutions revolve.

It’s natural and it’s healthy. As those that agitate become the establishment, a new breed of rebel will emerge to provide the friction required to find a better way. To snow clone George “The squares are agile now”.

Thankfully (and ironically), if I hear or talk to people with a gripe, it’s in relation to an “agile process”. For better or worse, what we do has been reduced in many people’s minds to a label that describes some popular and prescribed practices. It’s that reduction, the unfortunate mental link between the word “agile” and one (or more) of the more common agile practice models, that does us in.

That’s a little sad, because for a while there, lots of emerging ideas completely different from one another were added to the agile lexicon. It was about “discovering better ways of developing software by doing it”, and if you had one of those, you were proud to call it agile. Now it seems…..not so much. There seems to be a disaffection in some developers for that which (at least) represents agile.

Some call it a rebellion, some call it agile misunderstood. Post-Agile? Call it what you like. Just ACT! Agility is yours. If you feel like it’s been stolen, take it back.

Never forget (as Jan Stafford puts it):

“Agile is a developer-led movement that places less value on processes, tools, documentation and following plans…”

Those true to this movement welcome change, are not bound to their ideas. Test that. I’m begging you. We’re keen to hear from a new breed of developer. I’m dying to know what agile looks like tomorrow.

If you have an idea, then use it. Change your situation. Improve it. Then help others with it. Talk about it. Present on it. Write about it. Use more than 140 characters even! Be authentic in your desire to be better, to help to forward the cause for more meaningful work. It’s your obligation, no matter what you’re calling it.

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