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.