Thursday, October 09, 2008

Jerry Weinberg's take on Agile

I am a big fan of Gerald Weinberg,and recently in an interview on Citerus, he has made some encouraging remarks about Agile. Thought would share the portion of the interview here

Q: You must have seen a whole bunch of ideas, about how to best do software development, grow and die over all those years. Do you see the agile movement as a pendulum swing or is it a move in a new direction?

A: How about a pendulum swing in a new direction? It's a pendulum swing because approximately every decade, there's a fresh movement to "solve the programming problem." High-level languages, structured programming, object-oriented programming, ...

But it's a new direction because it's the first movement to focus largely on social processes rather than purely intellectual ones. For that reason, I believe, it has more hope for success than the earlier movements, each of which made a little progress, then largely ran out of steam before achieving its grand promises.

Of course, agile won't achieve all its grandest promises either, given the conservative nature of human beings, but that's all right. After another dozen decades or so of incremental improvement, we'll begin to see some really fine software development. Well, I shouldn't say "we," because none of us will see them, but at least our great-great-grandchildren will be able to look back at us and laugh at our crude methods.

Gerry is also famous for using analogies to explain things and, making comments on lighter side. Here is an example...

Q: If you're the J.K Rowling of software development, who's Harry P then?

A: Well, first of all, I'm not a billionaire, so it's probably not correct to say I'm the J.K. Rowling of software development. But if I were, I suspect my Harry Potter would be a test manager, expected to do magic but discounted by software developers because "he's only a tester." As for Voldemort, I think he's any project manager who can't say "no" or hear what Harry is telling him.