Thursday, March 17, 2005

Agile moves to the next phase

I'm attending and speaking at the Software Development Conference in Santa Clara this week (this is the same conference where, for many years, I chaired the C++ and Java tracks). Last night a group of us (myself, Bill Venners, Chuck Allison, Allen Holub, and Eric Evans, who wrote "Domain-Driven Design"), went to dinner at the White Lotus in San Jose, a place I try to get back to every time I'm in town.

That day I had seen, among other things, an agile talk Robert Martin and one by Mary Poppendieck. Although I've been following the printed literature, the last time I had seen any agile talks was at least a couple of years ago. What most impressed me by these two talks is the focus and the level of polish, in particular the shift to more evidence-based presentations. These are far more convincing and compelling arguments than the presentations that appeared when XP and agile initially appeared; I would classify those presentations as being more "enthusiasm-based."

Eric has been attending XP and Agile conferences and following everything more closely than I, and he said that someone at one of the recent conferences had made a presentation that pointed out that the early adopter phase had ended, and the current phase of adopters are more conservative and require clearer evidence in order to be convinced. Because I had already had my own XP-like experiences by the time XP appeared, the enthusiasm-based approach worked on me, but I found that these two presentations had a much more solid and mature feel to them. Of course, the fact that the presenters were very good made a big difference, as well.

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