Tuesday, October 10, 2006


For a Few Test Cases more…

Steve Yegge caused such a stir with his original post on Agile methodology that he’s written a follow up, Egomania Itself (in case you’re wondering, it’s an anagram of Agile Manifesto!). He covers a lot of ground with references to some very important concepts such as “selective reinforcement” and advocates commonsense when he observes ‘Whenever you hear Agile people asking around for "success stories", remind them politely that only looking at the positives is pseudoscience.’

Using Agile will not guarantee a project’s success. People will. But the central tenet of Agile is “People First”. Rather than talking about whether Agile works or not, we should be extracting those things that do and applying them where appropriate. Test driven development to me seems a no-brainer (despite the fact I still struggle to write code this way). Steve Yegge writes well, and I believe he makes several excellent points, but I don’t agree with every point.

“Most great software developers around the world don't use Agile. They just work hard, they stay lightweight,…” but wait, isn’t lightweight exactly what the Agile camp say is the second most important thing you should take care of (after people)?

Steve references a superb ACMQueue article by Jef Raskin titled “When we don't understand a process, we fall into magical thinking about results.” I believe that every developer should read that article. I have long believed that one of the personally traits that benefits programmers greatly, namely seeing patterns quickly, can also become a drawback if we make connections where none are present. Seriously, if you read just one article this week, read Jef’s.


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