Agile Development is More Than a Framework

April 15, 2011

In my last post I talked about Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do (JDK) system and how it challenged the thinking of other martial artists when Lee introduced it, noting that Bruce Lee’s situation is analogous to Agile development today. Examining what occurred with Lee’s JDK can also serve as a beacon for what we in the Agile community need to watch out for in the future.

For example, during the 1980s Lee’s original chiseling away of the inessentials gave way to the excessive adding of techniques to JKD, the goal being that JKD would always have the correct counter for any given attack. JKD began evolving into less of a system to guide others in their martial arts journey, morphing into a grab-bag of techniques.

As you can imagine, “Having no way as way” didn’t provide the direction that Lee intended. Lee didn’t believe that anything goes, the real meaning behind “Having no way as way” was in recognizing that no country or style had a monopoly on knowledge. The result of incorporating a huge array of techniques in order to have an answer for any situation diluted what JKD’s effectiveness as a system and created even greater confusion about JKD. This led Dave Cater to write an editorial titled, “Using Sense as No Sense” in an August, 1988 Inside Kung Fu magazine. In it he asked, “What the hell is JKD?”

There are plenty of people who are confused enough about what Agile development is already, what we don’t need is a proliferation of “styles” (approaches) to divert attention and add to the confusion. However, we need to start presenting Agile development as more than just a framework. It’s a system – and a catalyst – for change.

We can use it – and to encourage others – to see from a new perspective, to drive new thinking and to change our existing behaviors. Being truly Agile means that we should embrace and live (work-wise) the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. We need to remain true to this above anything else.

We must continue to share knowledge and experiences. And we need competent, capable guides; those who can help others navigate the Agile waters successfully in context of the realities that those individuals and organizations are facing.

By positioning Agile as a system for change, we can begin addressing Agile at the organizational level, something that will become increasingly important if Agile adoptions are going to increase. Studies are demonstrating that the most significant barriers to further Agile adoption are:
  • The ability to change organizational culture
  • General resistance to change within an organization
  • Management
(VersionOne State of Agile Surveys, 2008, 2009 and 2010)


davearonson said...

JDK? Methinks you've been drinking too much Java-flavored kool-aid. ;-)

April 15, 2011 at 8:18 AM
Dave Moran said...

@davearonson LOL! It's been a long week...

April 15, 2011 at 9:12 AM
Devi.Angularjs said...

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