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Peter Schuh coaches project teams and conducts trainings in the adoption and improvement of agile practices and techniques. He excels in both agile and traditional development environments (such as waterfall, heavy process and fixed cost). Peter is also the author of "Integrating Agile Development in the Real World," a field guild for software development professionals who aim to deliver useful and usable software in a timely manner. Peter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 19 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Can We Adopt Agile? Not Yes.

08.17.2010
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Andrew Wicklander over at Ideal Project Group has a great post on the answer “not yes.”  I hear this answer an awful lot when taking teams agile (or more agile).

“Not yes” is the answer you hear when you request permission to do something that’s not well understood by the requestee (such as initiate a daily stand).

The “not yes” answer means the requestee has no interest in saying “no” but doesn’t want the accountability of saying “yes”.

The “not yes” answer gives the requester the opportunity to try, succeed and reap the rewards of that success. But failure, and the costs of it, fall directly on the requester.

Welcome to the world of agile adoption. We thrive and starve on “not yes” answers. More often than not we thrive, which is why agile has achieved its current level of popularity.

But failure can be a major setback, because agile takes all the blame.

This “not yes” answer may help to explain why agile development can be such a polarizing topic. Across a multitude of organizations, the “not yes” answer has heaped the responsibility both for great success and great failure on agile. Regardless of whether this is accurate or fair, it’s no wonder there’s so much passion and experience on both sides of the agile debate.

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