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Allan Kelly has held just about every job in the software world, from sys admin to development manager. Today he provides training and coaching to teams in the use of Agile and Lean techniques. He is the author of "Changing Software Development: Learning to become Agile" (2008) and "Business Patterns for Software Developers" (2012) and a frequent conference speaker. Allan is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 70 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Agile is Like Sex

12.02.2013
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I’ll get back to software development economics, there are more posts in the works, but right now I need to say something....

I have blogged before on the subject of “What is Agile” - I’ve even expanded on that blog in an unfinished piece of writing called “What is Agile? Perspectives on Agile” - but sometimes I think it's just sex....

(OK, this blog just got filtered out of lots of feeds and stopped by lots of firewalls but lets continue.)

In the software development world there are, broadly speaking, two groups of people: those who create the software (coders, testers, etc.) and those who manage the process (project managers, development managers, etc.). When discussing "Agile" I find that both sides think the problem is with the other.

To put it another way, if I'm talking to developers they think its managers who are the block to adopting more Agile techniques and improvement. But when I'm talking to managers they say its the developers who resist Agile and other improvements.

Which always reminds me of the old Philip Crosby quote:

"Quality has much in common with sex. Everyone is for it. (Under certain conditions, of course.) Everyone feels they understand it. (Even though they wouldn't want to explain it.) Everyone thinks execution is only a matter of following natural inclinations. (After all, we do get along somehow.) And, of course, most people feel that all problems in these areas are caused by other people." Philip Crosby

Lets bring it up to date and make it Agile specific, substitute the work 'Agile' for 'Quality':

"Agile has much in common with sex. Everyone is for it. (Under certain conditions, of course.) Everyone feels they understand it. (Even though they wouldn't want to explain it.) Everyone thinks execution is only a matter of following natural inclinations. (After all, we do get along somehow.) And, of course, most people feel that all problems in these areas are caused by other people." Allan Kelly after Philip Crosby

You see? It fits.

Agile isn’t someone else’s thing, it doesn’t belong to another person: Its yours. You are as likely to be the block as the person you think is the block.

Published at DZone with permission of Allan Kelly, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

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Comments

A Johny replied on Wed, 2013/12/04 - 8:40am

 thats not true

Don Griffing replied on Wed, 2013/12/04 - 11:49am

I cannot buy into the notion that substituting Agile for Quality is equivalent.  Following along these lines, I will borrow Justice Potter Stewart's often used quote on pornography, "I know it when I see it."  Quality is closer to porn than it is to Agile.  When people hear Agile, their minds think of quick movements and being nimble.  That is a far cry from the values and principles of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.  The attempt to equate Agile with Quality in Philip B. Crosby's metaphor obfuscates the core need of organizational cultural change.

Jakob Nordstrom replied on Thu, 2013/12/05 - 2:29pm in response to: Don Griffing


Agree, certainly in scrum there is no project manager role and neither is there a development manager.

William Shenfield replied on Fri, 2013/12/06 - 12:13pm

Sort of agree, too many budget holders think they understand IT - in the same way most men think they are great at sex, but how many have actually studied the subject ?

The big issue is the poor quality of management found in many firms and their lack of understanding that their business is an IT Service business.   Firms like Amazon seem to get this where firms like RBS or UK government fail. I could rant on this subject for hours ...........

Ade Veloper replied on Sun, 2014/01/19 - 11:56am

The way 'agile' is substituted for 'quality' is a type of "Petitio Principii" logical fallacy (Begging the question, assuming the conclusion). 

"See, it fits"  - that's no argument. 

At most, I would say Agile is like really bad sex - much ado about very little essence.

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