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to Stellman & Jennifer: Agile Trend & Development

 
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Dear Stellman and Jennifer,

Glad that nowadays there are more and more Agile discussions and books available. From the various implementation of Agile methodologies, it's clear that there are 1 or 2 more popular implementation of it. Once of them is Scrum, and the other one is XP. Here in Singapore, Scrum seems to be more popular, until Scrum Master course is tailored for those who's interested to become Scrum Master.

To me, it's good for everyone and every team, every company to adopt Agile, however, whether they adopt it successfully and correctly, it's yet to be certified, as I doubt anyone out there would think of whether they need someone to audit their processes, whether the implementation of Agile methodologies in their team and company is successful and correct.

A lot of people out there are always telling people they are adopting agile methodologies, and I wonder whether they are just following trends or really adopting for the better of their developments needs and processes?

I wish to ask how you look at the current trend of Agile, would it just a trendy topic/methodologies, or it will go a long way ahead? Would it transform and get improved into another methodologies? Do wee need a body out there to audit those who are certified Scrum Master, as well as those who claimed they adopted Agile in their development and processes?

Is there any clear key differences and advantages between each implementation, and whether one is more superior than the rest?

What is the right attitude one should have when doing things agile-ly, as well as the key considerations in adopting the correct implementation of Agile, he/she needs?

Thank you for your time.

Regards,
Jenson
 
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In Learning Agile we cover Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban because they're the most common agile methods and methodologies. Our go-to reference for that is the annual VersionOne State of Agile survey -- Scrum is the most common agile methodology according to their survey responders, followed by a hybrid of Scrum and XP.

One of the things we spend time talking about in our book is how to decide what approach to agile will work best for you and your team. You asked a lot of good questions, and this last one is actually really important to figuring out what agile approach to use:

What is the right attitude one should have when doing things agile-ly, as well as the key considerations in adopting the correct implementation of Agile, he/she needs?



The goal of agile, and of any methodology (agile or otherwise), is to help your team to build better software that's more valuable to your users and company, and to deliver it more quickly and with fewer bugs. The attitude or mindset that you and your team take towards agile really makes a big difference in how well your agile adoption goes.

Agile methodologies and methods like Scrum, XP, and Kanban include practices: Scrum has task boards, sprints, daily meetings; XP has quarterly and weekly cycles, test-driven development, pair programming, incremental design; Kanban has visualizing the workflow, limiting work in progress, kanban boards; etc. But they have more: they include values that help you and your team take the right attitude towards building software.

I know this sounds if you've only really focused on practices. But a lot of teams have tried adopting agile and found that everyone was really excited at first, but after a while the new practices just kind of faded away, and after a few months people aren't writing unit tests first or holding daily Scrum meetings any more. That's because they don't really have the attitude that a daily Scrum meeting or writing unit tests first is genuinely the best way to build better software.

The reason I'm talking about this is to answer this question that you asked:

Is there any clear key differences and advantages between each implementation, and whether one is more superior than the rest?



The differences are more about focus than advantages or disadvantages. For example, Scrum is more focused around project planning and delivering value, XP is more focused around engineering and coding, and Kanban is focused on continuous process improvement.

So which is superior? It's less about figuring out what approach to agile is superior, and more about figuring out which one comes closest to matching the attitude of you and your team. The closer the match in attitude, the more likely it is for the adoption to stick.

We spend a lot of time in the book talking about this -- as well as the actual practices, and day-to-day work of adopting agile.

I hope that all makes sense! I'll try to keep elaborating on this throughout my posts this week.

Andrew
 
Jenson Chew
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Thanks Andrew for the reply.

It does make things clearer to me. And the reason I asked those questions is I've been working with various companies before, and a few of them are trying to adopt Scrum, while one of them faded off after the first few weeks and no longer in practice, the other one actually doing it daily, but it really doesn't solve the problem effectively, I believe that's also part of the attitude. Instead of using Scrum meeting for planning and delivery, it sometimes can turn out to be finger pointing and faults blaming; some other times, team members can just smoke through the meeting (due to there's no solid follow up after the meeting, and the next meeting, the members continue the same tactics, and the Scrum master just allow this to keep happening again and again).

I think the attitude really play a vital role in adopting Scrum methodologies, I myself is not a big fan of Scrum, but I think Scrum with XP would be a good combination for software development team if they want to deliver better software and be more productive, as well as really working as a team, not only to solve each member's own sets of problems, but also to help with other members' problems. Working in a agile team is not about accomplishing your own goals and work and that's it, it's about working as a team to deliver quality software fast with the least possible bugs.

I'm quite disappointed with the few companies which I had worked with before, that their Agile adoptions are all but a complete failure.

Is it possible that one to adopt agile methodology in his daily work even though the whole team is not doing so? Would that make any significant contribution to the deliverable and the productivity, as well as the quality of the software? Or it would be better off to be adopted across the team to be effective?

Thanks.

Regards,
Jenson
 
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