My apologies

Before I move onto writing about some other stuff, I have one last thing to say about the Agile Disease, and that’s “sorry”.  I was undoubtedly over the top in my tone, and was rude to a number of people (corporate IT developers, consultants in general, and a specific lists of consultants).  Clearly, I have no direct experience of most of these people and some of the things I said were unfair.  On the whole, those I’ve spoken to about the article have been thoughtful and friendly, and I’ve ended up feeling rather guilty.

I certainly don’t think all consultants are greedy or evil.  The good ones are genuine about wanting to help the projects they consult on – without that they clearly couldn’t be successful at what they do.  They’re also quite unique in having a lot of data points on software projects, so they’re in a good position to spot patterns of what works well and what doesn’t.  The issues I have with some of their ideas stem from two (entirely non-personal) factors:

  • Are consultants’ views biased by the types of company that hire them?  Some of them certainly use language that implies they live primarily in the world of corporate IT.  And I’m not having a go at corporate IT here – just saying that the nature of their projects may not be quite the same as commercial product development.
  • The economic incentives for consultants may not be fully aligned with the longer-term goals of companies that hire them.  It doesn’t mean the consultants are bad.  But economic incentives are subtly powerful (and often hidden) shapers of behaviour.

Mostly, though, I took issue not with the ideas but the way they’ve been marketed: as I kept saying, most of the ideas are common sense – not a bad thing at all.

Anyway, sorry to anyone I was rude about.

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2 Responses to My apologies

  1. Hal says:

    Arg! The Agile enforcers got to ya! Man, I knew they’d be flooding you with hate mail after those posts….

    Granted, one should always be reasonably polite n’ such, but really… It’s hard to see where you went “over the top”. I guess as an individual contributor, I don’t have to deal with such matters on a daily basis, but at least from this point of view I don’t see where you were in any way offensive….

    • lukehalliwell says:

      Hal, I did get a fair bit of hate mail, but that’s definitely not what prompted this post (they made me wish I’d been ruder, if anything!).

      No, I wrote this because I was contacted by a number of people who, while definitely pro-Agile and therefore in disagreement with me on many points, remained friendly, thoughtful and constructive (and were willing to admit to some problems with Agile). I do believe I was rude to them in at least a couple of places.

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