The Software World is moving beyond “Agile” into the post-Agile world — and for good reason.
The main problem with Agile, is that it was invented in the 90s, to solve the problems of the 80s. Problems that are different and unrelated to what we have today.
Consider the world that XP and Scrum, were born in. (We’ll get to Kanban later).
Cell phones were the size of lunchboxes. Most computer ran DOS. Fax machines were state of the art inventions.
Although the internet existed, the modern browsers did not, nor did skype, Webex, Goto Meeting, Twitter, cell phone email, or anything else we take for granted.
Windows 95 was years away at that point.
C#, Java, and PHP did not exist… Most software was painfully developed in C.
Am I getting somewhere yet?
Of course there were big documents and CASE tools back then — there had to be — we didn’t have rapid application development environments like we have now.
But the world has changed — while the Agile practices and mindset have not kept pace.
Take colocated teams — as I mentioned above, communication was primitive back then. Even sending an email between companies was difficult — and faxes were never that fun.
Today, we have numerous, powerful tools that bring people from around the country together in ways they never dreamed about when inventing Scrum and XP. But still, they harp about colocated teams and how verbal communication is best.
200 Page documents? Case diagrams? Sure maybe those happened back then, but that was long before the average attention span declined to what it is now, before rapid fire web startups became the new rage, and before it became productive to roll out software incrementally on the web.
So called “waterfall” — eg traditional business — has adapted to those changes by working in smaller increments with more modest documents. The Agile field still lives in the 90s.
We don’t need less planning — we need more! Planning as well as attention spans, have declined over the past 20 years. Need proof? Watch a movie from the 70s — there will be 10 or 20 or even 30 seconds between camera shots. Watch a movie from today and see if the camera says parked for more than 6 seconds before an angle change.
Todays companies don’t write anything down, don’t plan enough, don’t do enough architecture, then they go agile and exacerbate their problems, because agile treats them as if they are an 80s era overplanner.
We need to treat the real symptoms, not fight the last battles.
One way to do that is listed here. I look forward to hearing more from people and their post agile solutions.
As far as Kanban goes, Kanban goes back the 50’s and before. It’s designed to address how factories worked in the 70s.
Not only have factories evolved since then, and made many Kanban concepts redundant, but software development is not an assembly line exercize. Kanban can probably work fine for repetitive tasks, but today’s software is not repetitive in nature.
Coders could be working on a web site one day, database backend another, facebook integration the next. It’s not screwing in bolts one after another.
So we can see that Agile focuses on the problems of the past, and misdirects it’s energies on things that are no longer germane to the issue, and possibly never were.
It’s time to move forward, not dwell in the past.