In a recent exchange on InfoQ, regarding the recently released Voke report on Agile, I opined the following:
I just wanted to add and concur that originally these were called “lightweight” methodologies and I think the term is accurate — whether they are for lightweight projects or lightweight developers.
Maybe some fraction of SW development does indeed fall into these categories — or yet another “startup/Minimalism” category.
One of the major points to happen from the “Snowbird” conference was the jettisoning of the term lightweight for “agile”.
It was thought that “lighweight” would indicate non serious or disposable. So — after much discussion “agile” was settled on, as a more marketable glittering generality.
However, if said methodologies, had been indeed marketed, under the more realistic and accurate name of “lightweight” we wouldn’t be seeing the problem we see today.
The fact that there was a deliberate effort to make this a universal solution, driven, possibly, and only possibly, of course, by the notion of a future profit potential, have we seen this phenomenon.
Let’s call a spade for what it is — if this is a lightweight methodology for lightweight programmers or lightweight product owners or lightweight projects in general, fine call it that.
I can certainly see if someone has a $15k budget for a project, and “BUFD” would cost $10k, sure, jettison that, let’s code ‘n’ fix til we TDD towards a solution.
But that is what it is…a solution for some small projects or some serious unknowns…not a universal panacea.
In other words, I agree there is a time and a place for lightweight methodologies, and the clarity to call them what they are.
The fact that “agile” in a rush to stampede the world, has, mistakenly assumed all projects fall under their “lightweight” domain, is the crux of the issue we are facing today.
The Voke report, as well as most real world market information, suggests that agile is far from panacea.
It may indeed be appropriate for lightweight work and let’s celebrate that.
But when heavy lifting is required, perhaps a different approach is called for.
Let’s stop even referring to “agile.” Let’s call it what it is — lightweight.
A spade is a spade, it has it’s purpose, and so do Lightweight methodologies like Scrum and XP and most of Agile.
There is no need to get a bulldozer when all you need is a shovel, shall we call a spade a spade finally?