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Kelly Waters is Web Technology Director for IPC Media, one of the UK's largest publishers of consumer magazines and web sites. Kelly has been in software development for about 25 years and is a well-known narrator of agile development principles and practices, as a result of his popular blog 'Agile Software Development Made Easy!' ( Kelly is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 40 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

10 Things I Hate About Agile Development!

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Agile development. Love it or hate it, there's no doubt that it's here to stay. I've enjoyed a great deal of success thanks to agile software development and agile project management methods, but here are 10 things I hate about Agile!

1. Saying you're doing Agile just cos you're doing daily stand-ups.
You're not doing agile. There is so much more to agile practices than this! Yet I'm surprised how often I've heard that story. It really is remarkable.

2. Worrying about the difference between 'Agile' (big A) and 'agile' (small a).
You mean you spell it with a big A, omg you're so not cool! The differentiation is between Agile methods and being 'agile', in the true sense of the word. Most people probably don't get the subtlety. When people split hairs about this it gets on my nerves and makes so-called agilists sound like a bunch of overly-religious nerds.

3. Thinking that agile is a silver bullet and will solve all your problems.
That's so naiive, of course it won't! Humans and software are a complex mix with any methodology, let alone with an added dose of organisational complexity. Agile development will probably help with many things, but it still requires a great deal of skill and there is no magic button.

4. Claiming to be Agile when you're clearly not 'agile'.
Yes, we're doing all the major agile practices, but we're not flexible and we don't seem to understand the underlying agile principles. Were agile in practice but don't demonstrate the values of openness, attention to quality, collaboration, team spirit, etc.

5. People who are anti-agile but with nothing constructive to say about why.
I hate that. I've had a few turn up here and enlighten us all with their intellectual comments, such as 'snake oil' or 'agile is a hoax'. Losers!

6. Blaming agile - "I tried it once and didn't like it".
Projects are difficult. Some projects may even fail, even if you are using agile project management methods. As I said earlier, agile is not a silver bullet. It's important not to blame agile when things go wrong, just as it's important not to claim it's the saviour for all of your ills. Don't blame the process. It's a bit like bad workmen blaming their tools. It's not big and it's not clever!

7. Using agile as an excuse - "no we can't do that, cos it's not Agile".
"No I'm sorry, we don't do it that way here'. Following the agile process without fail regardless of the circumstances - even if it's contrary to what the situation really requires for the business or for the customer. If the process is the most important thing, above all else, that's not agile!

8. People who think they're smart enough to adapt agile processes before they've really got enough experience to understand how and *why* it works.
It's an easy trap to fall into, but one that should be resisted. Otherwise it's so easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater!

9. People who use agile as an excuse for having no process or producing no documentation.
If documents are required or useful, there's no reason why an agile development team shouldn't produce them. Just not all up-front; do it as required to support each feature or iteration. JFDI (Just F'ing Do It) is not agile!

10. People who know more about agile development than me.
They're so smug ;-)

Ah, that's better! I feel much better now I've got that off my chest.

Thank you for listening!


P.S. - one more thing! I hate people who rant about agile development on agile blogs. That's just silly.


Published at DZone with permission of Kelly Waters, author and DZone MVB.

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



Daniel Alexiuc replied on Tue, 2010/02/23 - 12:55am

I hate people who write about what they hate in comments on articles written by people who hate people who rant about agile development on agile blogs

Martin Wildam replied on Tue, 2010/02/23 - 6:01am

I read a few things about agile development but my impression is that some people have different interpretations and practice different variations that makes it difficult for people speaking of the same thing when they talk about agile development.

However, I think this is what happens to a lot of modern keywords. I remember when DMS (Document Management Systems) were modern. Everybody somehow claimed to have DMS offerings (even printer manufacturers ;-) ).

Now maybe every software development company tries to put agile development on their flags, whether they know about agile or not. ;-)

Andrew Arrigoni replied on Wed, 2010/02/24 - 9:30am

I hate how I'm not in charge of my company and can't change the methodology.

I also hate how even if I did, the resistance from the rest of the company would probably squash it.

Jeff Anderson replied on Wed, 2010/02/24 - 6:09pm

number four and number nine on my personal biggest pet peeves

John Quincy replied on Sun, 2011/10/23 - 8:18am

Going to agile because "It's Agile" is my pet peeve!


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