"Agile is a Hoax" – Does That Make Me An Alien?

Agile is a Hoax - does that make me an alien?I can’t believe it.

There I was, happily practicing agile principles. Enjoying a wide variety of very clear benefits as a direct result of implementing Scrum.

Then along came ‘Anonymous’ and commented on my blog…

According to Anonymous, “Agile is a Hoax”.

At first I was offended. I didn’t like being called a Hoaxer. I thought I should remove the comment from my blog at once.

And then I thought it through…

What is the intellectual capacity of a person who writes a comment like this?

Please don’t get me wrong…

I don’t think agile development is the answer to world poverty.

I don’t even think it’s the answer to all software development projects in all scenarios.

However I do think it has a lot of advantages to offer when the circumstances are right.

Anonymous didn’t even have the courtesy to leave their name.

Anonymous didn’t say “I don’t like Agile because…”, or “I’ve found Agile doesn’t work because…”, or “I prefer waterfall because…”.

No, none of that.

Anonymous just said “Agile is a Hoax”.

To me, this is like a sulky school kid kicking the ball away when losing a game of football. Or throwing their toys when losing a game.

So I decided to leave the comment as it is. I decided to treat it with the contempt it deserves. And perhaps to see how others respond to it.

On the other hand, I’ve probably given it too much credit already, by writing this post :-)

To see the original article that inspired Anonymous to share their wisdom with us, click here: “10 good reasons to do Agile Development“.


9 Responses to “"Agile is a Hoax" – Does That Make Me An Alien?”

  1. David Shepherd says:

    Maybe the comment was a hoax.

  2. BlackWasp says:

    Computers are a hoax. They’ll never catch on.

  3. Gabriel C. says:

    I like what you say about agile must be applied “when the circumstances are right”.
    I guess the problem is that some people believe that the circumstances are always right and are very “pushy” trying to convince everybody that agile is the best thing since slice bread… I found it annoying at least. :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Agile is not a hoax. Agile development is a way for frightened programmers to keep themselves company as they timidly journey through the burden of choice that more courageous programmers are able to navigate on their own.

  5. David Longstreet says:

    While Agile may not be a hoax, but it is a fairy tale. It is another “iteration” of failed methodologies. You can see an article I wrote and have presented at several conferences.

    The bottom line Software Development needs to mature and follow the lead of other industries.

    Agile Methods and Other Fairy Tales
    David Longstreet

  6. Paul Littlebury says:

    Agile is not a hoax, it is a valid developement methodology. Whether or not it is implemented correctly is another matter! And companies with projects that work in chaotic manner use the term (wrongly) to describe their process. What I have seen generally compromised in Agile environments is QA and also ironically the business requirements (i.e. the poor old client). The risk of adopting a methodology in the hope it will somehow magically fix communications issues, or project management, is a dangerous illusion, but unfortunately is very prevalent.

  7. Stefan says:

    Of course, there isn’t such a thing as perfect methodology applicable to all types of projects. Some methodologies (e.g. DSDM) include a step to verify if this is the way to go. Waterfall shouldn’t be treated as obsolete, there are still many projects (especially the larger and complex ones) that can benefit from a nice long feasibility study and analysis up front. Criticizing can be a positive thing if it’s argumented, but leaving a comment like: Agile is hoax and that’s it is nothing but “narrow-mindedness”. If agiles helps companies manage their PDLCs, deliver customer focused products and boost their revenues, it won’t stop becoming more and more popular. The wrong thing to do is choosing a methodology and sticking to it, closing your eyes for the rest of the world.

  8. Anthony says:

    I tend to think that anything that requires suspension of disbelief is most likely a hoax.

    If 70% of development fails under a given methodology, and the proponents of that methodology only say you have to believe more, do more, etc., then there is something wrong with the methodology.

    It’s like saying that bad things happen to highly religious people because they don’t believe enough, an attempt at masking the non-existence of whatever deity is meant to exist for that religion.

  9. cmeier says:

    We don't know whether agile is a hoax or not because we do not have any good measurements on how the choice of software development management technique (I refuse to misuse the term methodology here) has affected the success or cost of the final product.

    We could run an experiment where several teams are asked to develop identical applications. Half the teams are required to use agile and half are required to use waterfall. We would then have measurements that might shed some light on the issue. I suspect that the results would show that the quality of the project manager and senior developers are far more important factors than strict adherence to a given management technique.

    In the meantime, I would like to point out that emacs is better than vi.

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