There are times when face-to-face communication is much more effective, where a conversation only minutes in length can save hours of electronic chatter. This Reddit dialog felt like one of those times.
It started with this comment about my article: “Methodology marketing - no 'softwareresults' - no evidence, just assertion.”
I responded with, “It's an opinion about how Agile development can provide a number of benefits – and improve the results of software development efforts. I structured this piece with reasoning to support the assertions; but no, I did not provide specific evidence. Does the reasoning fail to convince you? What evidence would work for you?”
Things went downhill (and around the hill) from there.
I’ll admit that my motivation was to explore whether the assertions and brief reasoning offered in the article held up with someone who clearly:
- Has experience in the software development field.
- Reads a great deal on the subject.
- Participates in forums and comments on blogs.
I believe this to be a harsh judgment, and our dialog failed to convince me that anything that I said in the article was in fact wrong. This individual demanded evidence from me, but he didn’t present any evidence that my assertions were wrong based on research that he has clearly performed, either.
I do agree (in part) with his answer to this question that I asked: “How should the industry be approaching software development, in your opinion?”
He answered, “With humility and measurement.
"The Principle of Dispassionate Methodology: Don’t get your method advice from a method enthusiast. The best advice comes from people who care more about your problem than about their solution."
I happen to care about software development and meeting the needs of the business, and I’ve become enthusiastic about Agile development because I believe that when it comes to working with the business to meet the needs of the business, the approach is excellent. And I certainly don’t prescribe using Agile methods if they don’t fit your situation.
This individual was right about one thing. My blog is about software results, and I could back up my assertions more thoroughly than I did, and I will do so in my next series of posts. In advance of this, let me ask you a few questions so that I can learn to write more compelling and informative articles.
Please keep in mind that writing articles places some constraints on you as a writer. The editor had already determined the topic in this case. He wanted a “Top Ten” article (lists and “Top Reason” articles tend to be popular). There is a word limit. I was given a range of 800 words to 1600 words, and I came closer to the upper limit in this case.
I simply lacked the space to delve into details of each assertion. I had just enough room to explain each one as succinctly as possible. My hope for the article was that it would get someone excited enough to consider to want to explore more, or perhaps provide a convenient reference for those who understood and supported Agile development, but needed to explain the benefits of Agile development to others.
My questions to you:
In your opinion, does my article capture the benefits and reasons for using Agile, based on your understanding of software development and your experiences? Why or why not?
What would you recommend that I change?
What other articles would you like to see written?