By user12610707 on Feb 22, 2008
I had a discussion yesterday that touched briefly upon how agile our project is (or is not). The answer was that we're probably more agile than some other projects I've been on, but that we could be more agile. The underlying assumption was that things would be better if we were more agile. I think this assumption happens to be true, but it's not fundamentally true. Let me explain.
A former manager once said to me that he thought I was process-oriented. My response was, quite emphatically, "I'm not process-oriented; I'm results-oriented!" (I swear this is true. It just popped out.) The reason I'm a proponent of agile techniques is that I think we can achieve better results using them. Otherwise, what would be the point? If we made some change that was more agile, but our results didn't improve, there wouldn't be any benefit. Or if we made some change that did improve our results, I'd be in favor of it regardless of whether or it's considered "agile".
Note also that I'm using "results" in a very generalized way. For instance, if the team were to deliver the same product, feature set, quality, etc. but with less overtime and stress, and more time spent relaxing with families, and so forth, I'd consider that to be an improved result.
The default in my area seems to be for projects to be very plan-driven. Frankly, I don't think they've worked well. For this reason I've looked to alternatives, including many agile techniques. But the point isn't to be agile for the sake of being agile; it's to get better results. Let's make sure we don't forget this.