Plus ca change...

I read a lot of testing blogs, and am always intrigued when there's some sort of connective tissue within the test blog community. Perhaps I'm a fan of the drama, or maybe I just love to witness controversy, but at any rate, here's the story up to now:

Jonathan Kohl wrote a post on Post-Agilism, which inspired a spirited (and confrontational) rebuttal by Paul Gerrard, which in turn, inspired a reaction by James Bach. Take some time to read, then come back. Go ahead....

<note that I don't usually comment on other blog posts, but in this case, the response I was about to post in one of the comments for one of the blogs felt too much like a blog post to leave as a comment>

Now that you're back, I'm not sure where to start. I read Jonathan's post yesterday and it didn't seem pretentious at all. Then I saw Paul's post today, and re-read it. It still didn't seem pretentious, so I re-read Paul's post, and to me, it mostly seems like Jonathan struck a nerve with Paul. I'm sure I could pull more details through analyzing the posts, but I guess I'll just wait for them to hash it out.

With that statement out of the way, a couple of issues in this argument struck me. First of all, I get why Jonathan is thinking of another term to describe Agile, but I think the only reason we need (or Jonathan) needs another term is because of the immense Agile buzz over the past few years. Don't get me wrong, I like Agile (I can never remember whether to use a capital 'A' or not). I'm a believer of creating and testing software in whatever manner delivers a product that makes the customers happy in the shortest time possible. What bugs me about the Agile zealots is the notion that anything not Agile must be waterfall. I have been testing or writing software for over fifteen years, and have never worked on a waterfall project. Most of the projects I've worked on have been spiral model (if I have to classify the model). Of course, not all of the projects I've worked on have been hits with the customers, but they were certainly far from waterfall. The complaint I had with spiral long before agile came around was that even though the process was iterative, there was still too little time to be reactive to changing customer requirements. When extreme programming was introduced, it made perfect sense to me - let's take something that we know works well - an iterative engineering model, and do it to the extreme. Let's cut the iterations down to a month or less and make reacting to the customer a priority. Yay - case closed.

Now, with all of the variations of agile methodologies, not to mention the near religious wars between agilists and "those-who-must-be-waterfall", I can perfectly understand why Jonathan is discussing the concept of Post-Agilism. But now I'm still bugged a bit because I don't see the need to keep labeling this stuff. As I mentioned above, I just want to do the right things at the right times to make the right software for the right people (ok - that's not exactly what I said, but to me it means pretty much the same thing). I guess we need to label it for a common terminology, but for me, to get caught up in labels is a waste of time.

The funny thing about Paul's reaction is that Jonathan's article ended with this quote:

Don't find it helpful? Don't worry about it. We aren't trying to change minds, we're just trying to get people to think about what they are doing.

This is the winning statement. I sometimes feel like I'm living in an engineering world where people are looking to be told what to do or are waiting for a silver bullet to come along. Just think about what you're doing and make smart choices.

How hard can it be?