Agile Lifecycle Development With DWA

From what I have been reading and hearing lately, Agile Project Management methodology is losing its luster. Is it really dead?

I have over 20 years of Application Development experience and I remember when the mainstream methodology changed from waterfall to Agile, it was all the rage. Companies and development shops adopted this new style of project development methodology, like people adopted the iPhone. If you weren’t into Agile, you were not on a project.

I must say I myself adopted it with open arms as well, in fact I still use the methodology. I can most definitely say that I have had better success with Agile than a Waterfall approach. But is the reason experience? I actually think that it may be. You see, it seems to me that as long as you meet goals/milestones in your plan, then the project seems to be more successful. Earlier on in my career I found that we, as a project team, were late with goals and milestones quite often, whether it was scope increase, bugs in the software, or whatever, we seemed to always be late meeting the milestones and eventually the project was late, over budget or was cancelled. When Agile was widely adopted, as most did, I embraced it, just like a wave for a surfer, jump on it and ride the wave, the new thing, the “Pet Rock” if you will. I will admit, once I was able to adopt fully to the Agile way it seemed as if the milestones were being met more constantly and clients were happier as they were seeing results with frequency.

However, was this due to my experience on how to guide projects in effort and estimation? I believe it was. The fact is Agile Project Management has some great points, but is it really any better than, say, a waterfall approach? I believe that there are good artifacts from both methodologies. I’m here to say that we should embrace Agile and Waterfall together. Because the real key to a successful project is quite simple. Three steps:

  1. Determine where you are in the project (Milestones/Sprints).
  2. Work toward the goals of the Milestones/Sprints.
  3. Continually adjust your understanding based on what you learned.

How it’s done:

When there is a fork in the road and both lead to the same place, wouldn’t you take the shortest route to get there? Of course, take the path that makes change easier. And that’s it. Those three steps and one implementation strategy encompass everything there is to know about effective software development. Now this doesn’t mean there is a lot of thinking and planning that goes along with these steps, but anyone who comes up with something bigger or more complex is just trying to make more out of something that is simple. You see, that has what has transpired over the years. Simple things have become more complicated in order to be different, but the fact is simple is better.

So now that I have said all of that, is the term Agile dying? Heck no, we still need to react to changes in the plan, so agility is key, but perhaps we should abandon the terms or word “Agile” and instead use terms like,

  • You aren’t an agile programmer—you’re a programmer who programs with agility.
  • You don’t work on an agile team—your team exhibits agility.

Attending a short course, and suddenly you can add a label “Agile” to your job title. This is what has been done with high frequency over the past 7-8 years. The real ace in the hole is experience, you can’t buy experience—you can only earn it.

So I submit a new Software Development methodology to everyone… DWA (Development with Agility). Ride the wave! 

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