I was reading Waterfall’s Demise and Agile’s Rise, and it made me think about the definition of words.
I’d wagger that if a developer goes on 100 interviews, that 98 of those companies will say they are Agile. The other two companies will remain silent on the matter, because Agile “what developers crave”.
(Like Brawndo: It’s got what plants crave)
What is important here is what they define agile to be.
In college I trained to be a pointy-hair boss, and my business school alma-mater was all about Quality. There’s a correlation here: if you interview 100 companies, I’m sure 98 will say they do quality work.
What do they mean by quality?
Do they mean:
- Total Quality Management?
- Six Sigma?
- Someone in the building has a copy of Juran’s Quality by Design?
- Focus on delivering business value to our internal and external clients?
- Someone in the building read the last half of Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance
- “We try not to build stuff that breaks”?
- “Don’t have your stuff break in front of the boss, or have him blame you about some stuff being broken.”?
- “Quality - oh yeah, we’re supposed to care about that. It’s in our mission statement I think. I don’t know, I threw that paper out with the rest of the crap they gave me when I started here.”?
So, if your interested, you really have to dig to figure out what is meant by quality.
As an aside: Even if you don’t care about management, I think every knowledge worker’s lives could be enriched by Juran’s book and ZAMM.
So, back to Agile.
So, what do companies mean by saying they are agile?
Do they mean:
- “We practice Scrum”?
- We practice Kanban?
- “We don’t need a plan - we’re Agile!”?
- “You developers go build your thing, then after you’re done we’ll tell you what’s wrong with it”?
- “Sure, we’re agile. Wait, what’s the Agile Manifesto - is that something new? We should send someone to be certified in it!”?
- “We practice waterfall, but we call it Agile. We also like to call our our databases ‘virtual filing cabinets’ - we think it has more mauve.”?
I would suggest learning what a company means by Agile… maybe even what a company means by Quality.