An agile pioneer versus an 'agile ruined my life' critic

The two's public argument led to friendship and mutual support of agile development, which they say has been misunderstood

By , InfoWorld |  Development, agile development

Critic Markham turns out to be a friend of both agile and Kern. "Jon and I actually became friends as a result of that article," Markham told In fact, he's an active agile coach. "I am a big fan of agile. That's 'little-A' agile, as in principles not rituals," he added.

"The principles of agile are very sound -- tight feedback loops, engaging the customer as an integral part of the team, always adapting, and so on. The problem was that 1) the manifesto is the most overmarketed self-help doc on the planet, and 2) people get caught up in the details instead of operating from principles. They become 'agilistas,'" Markham said.

Markham added he has probably watched 100 teams struggle with agile adoption and worked with other coaches who have witnessed the same thing. "I think perhaps one of the reasons my article resonated so well was that it was from a knowledgeable person inside the community, somebody who has spent a lot of time teaching this stuff. Not from a simple naysayer. As my article tried to show, it's not the core of agile that is the problem -- it's the half-assed way we've taken people who couldn't code their way out of a paper bag and made them experts that is the problem. ... Some of these guys who are famous authors and speakers wouldn't be worth a plug-nickel on a real, live delivery team. The buzz has lost sight of reality."

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