Agile - it's in the name

This is a plea to the people who invent project management methodologies and development approaches; please take more care over the naming of your creations!

The word ‘agile’ conjures up all sorts of mental images in the busy pressurised brains of senior managers, and almost all of these images are wrong. I’m sure that most people, when meeting the term ‘agile’ for the first time in the context of a software project, envisage their developers leaping around like a bunch of monkeys, being hyper-active.

Coupled with the promise of faster delivery this becomes an irresistible opportunity. Agile projects are started willy-nilly, with no idea of the implications for senior management (and believe me, agile projects that don’t go right do not fail because of technical issues, but because of management issues).

I am intrigued as to what the senior people thought their developers did before ‘agile’ was invented. Did we lounge around running ‘relaxed’ projects, or something? I find it hard to believe that there are too many development teams that can actually work any harder (faster) than they do at present from a technical point of view, so introducing ‘agile’ cannot just mean that we turn up the flame and really go faster.

So, my plea to all methodology creators is this: the next time you invent something like ‘agile’ please call it something like ‘a new software approach that requires senior management understanding and commitment’.  

I’m sure you clever folks can identify a snappy acronym for this, but DO NOT ever use any dynamic sexy terms to describe your creations - they just cause trouble.


© Mike Watson 2015



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