Re: Agile Practices [was The Red Mercedes]
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 04:06:04 -0800 (PST)
At age 67, I probably should know better, but what the hell, time hangs heavy 
on my hands, and I will respond to this philosophical discourse.

On Nov 6, 2011, at 2:17 PM, Dane Laverty wrote:

> Let me respond first to your question about Agile (I'll come back to the
> rest in a separate email). Here's the "Agile Software Developement
> Manifesto". Like any declaration, it's more about ideals than practices,
> but I think it's a useful starting point:
> *Manifesto for Agile Software Development*
> We are uncovering better ways of developing
> software by doing it and helping others do it.
> Through this work we have come to value:
> *Individuals and interactions* over processes and tools

How are interactions different from processes?  Are interactions improvised 
according the expediency of the moment, while processes are planned in advance? 
 What's at stake here?

> *Working software* over comprehensive documentation

Is this an either/or?  Can I not have both?

> *Customer collaboration* over contract negotiation

As a practicing architect, I have concluded that the whole point of contract 
negotiations is to clarify a shared understanding of rights, responsibilities, 
and mutual expectations.  I value this.  But I agree in part:  If the job is 
going well, possibly thanks to good "customer collaboration", then the contract 
stays in the drawer.  Only if the job runs off the rails then does everyone 
pull out the contract and scrutinize the fine print.  God save us all if there 
is no fine print to scrutinize.

> *Responding to change* over following a plan

Maybe. I agree that plans need to be adapted to the reality of what's 
happening, really.   But I find this particular false dichotomy is trotted out 
most often to suppress any effort to make a plan.  I'm not with you here.


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