The Quest for the One True Way

One thing that has always confused me about the “agile movement” is their quest to find the One True Way of managing software projects, which is best for ALL software projects.

This has never made sense to me; there are a multitude of programming languages. Should we choose one and only one and write all the software in that?

What about databases? Operating Systems?

Is there one Best pasta dish? One best vehicle we should all drive?

Yet this is quest is deemed as if it’s normal in Agile land.

We should be grateful for choices and diversity, and seek more choices and diversity, and not attempt to impose or even seek “one best” solution for everything.

To me this is an attempt to impose uniformity and blandness on the world — and is against everything that is good and positive about a vibrant and positive intellectual and business oriented economy brings to the table.

Forget about trying to impose some “best” way on the world; find something that it is best at, and apply it to those cases, as is done with everything from Ruby to SUV’s.


About postagilist

Architect, Manager, Developer, Musician, Post-Agile thought leader
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5 Responses to The Quest for the One True Way

  1. As a framework Agile needs to adapt and evolve as we learn more of what works and what were really bad ideas. In this respect I don’t believe there will ever be one true way. What I do think is missing is an option where you don’t have to read hundreds of books and websites to understand Agile.

    It should be simple to understand to people new to it, but adaptable to circumstance. Ideally it would be standards that you would apply if new to it, but these standards would drop down to be guidelines if you are starting to get used to it. The concept of modes of learning is explained fairly well by the “Shu-ha-ri” model. One size will never fit all.

    • PostAgilist says:

      I think what agile should focus on, or should have focused on, is getting people to think, not getting people to do this or that practice.

      That is what I try to do here, is to get people to think and create and apply their own practices based on their own unique situation.

      I think the quest for the One True Way is driven by Scrum, Inc and Kanban, Inc, because they want to be seen as “the leader” and “the way” in the customer mind.

      Please don’t get me started on “Shu-ha-ri” — to me Shuhari is “Father knows best” with wasabi flavoring. Not even genuine wasabi but just the canned stuff for gaijins at the supermarket.

      It’s used by Coaches as a stick to get people to not question anything til they’ve done some random method for N years, no matter how half baked it is, and trying to justify it as some buddhist truth. Eg, it’s harmful propaganda.

      So speaking of Shuhari, to end on a lighter note (assuming people get this joke and the correlation)…

      Johnny: “Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a drummer!”
      Mother: “Johnny, you know you can’t do both!”


  2. Joke went over my head… could be an american thing I guess. The essence is whether it is a linear path or not, people learn differently. Some learn by doing, others learn by asking and reading. For me, to each his own.

    • PostAgilist says:

      My objection to shuhari is that, for any new thing invented, they discount anyone’s previous experience etc.

      Eg, if someone says the new Yogagile method will have everyone standing on their head to increase blood flow, and that yields immense benefits. If someone is adverse to that idea, they will knee cap them by saying they cannot comment on it til they have tried it for 2 years.

      It’s a tactic to shutdown opposition and get training fees. It didn’t work? Oh you need a new coach then… try harder.

      As far as the joke goes, Mom is saying that you can’t grown up AND be a drummer, you can grow up OR be a drummer… 🙂

      The tie in, is, Mom’s version is, first you do shu drumming, then you’re ha good and when you get to ri status you won’t even want to be a drummer anymore… you’ll realize it was silly.

      A little subtle I guess. Whether Mom was herself a drummer and had earned ri status or commented without it is unknown in this story…

      Full Disclosure: I play drums and other instruments so I’m not making fun of drummers here; it’s more of a logic joke than anything.


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