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Posted by Mike Gualtieri on October 12, 2011
Never has a new trend annoyed me as much as Agile. Right from the get-go, the Agile Manifesto revealed the weaknesses and immaturity of the founding principles. The two most disturbing: “Working software is the primary measure of progress” and “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.” These are cop-outs because:
Yikes. I have used some strong words here, and I could go on and on. I acknowledge the good intentions of the Agile community. But, the lack of empirical evidence for the benefits of Agile methods is telling. My colleague Dave West, who covers Agile for Forrester, has seen the cracks in how Agile is implemented and written about them in a new research paper titled “Water-Scrum-Fall Is The Reality Of Agile For Most Organizations Today.” The report also shows Agile adoption at 38.6% in 2010 and notes that interest in Agile remains very, very high. Most of the evidence I have seen is anecdotal — of the “It’s a miracle. I can walk again!” kind. My take is that the Hawthorne effect is hard at work after years of brain-numbing sequential processes such as waterfall. Anything was better than the worst.
A New Thesis For A Better Approach To Software Development
For the future of application development to be insanely great user experiences, we need a new software development methodology. Agile is not it. Agile is a group of methodologies that came from asking, “How can we fix the software development mistakes of the past?” We need a new approach that asks, “What software development process prepares us to be experience creators?” I call this new approach: parallel, immersive software studio (I am well aware of the purely coincidental acronym P#SS. I just call it STUDIO). This new approach rests on four pillars:
The parallel, immersive software studio is different from other methodologies in five important ways:
This post about parallel, immersive software studio (STUDIO) can’t compete with the 1,813 books about Agile Software on Amazon.com right now. It is just a new idea in a sea of many. But, the accelerating demand for applications that “wow” businesses and users will create new winners and losers in the world of software development. Agile-mania is ending. The evidence: the Agile gurus are now telling us what is wrong with Agile and how to fix it. I say: Throw the baby out with the bath water. Now it is time to get serious. Our craft of software development must be based on creating a continuous stream of insanely great user experiences, not based on the problems of our past. Our value as application development professionals depends on it.
As always, I welcome a vibrant discussion!
Mike Gualtieri, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research
I initially wrote about this new approach in December 2008. It is the result of countless conversations with real software development professionals; observations in many different software development shops, including software vendors, enterprises apps, consumer apps, and core technologies; and a large amount of research in adjacent disciplines such as product design, advertising, and movie making. This research is also based on interviews with business people, product managers, and executives as well as my experience as a software developer for 25+ years using a wide range of technologies and methodologies for small and very large applications including Z80 for operating systems and Java for enterprise apps.
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