Methodologies are not Infallible or Timeless

Agile methodologies are a big trend. Some adherents promote their methodologies like religious fanatics. They tell you that your soul will burn in hell if you don’t embrace the teachings… err that you’ll have a dysfunctional team and that your project will fail. Although these methodologies have some merits, they’re not infallible.

The belief that an agile methodology works for everyone, in any situation and will continue to work is problematic. It would be like saying that a programming framework is suitable for all developers, in any project and will still be “the thing” ten years from now. We all know that this is not true. We have seen design patterns such as singleton become anti-patterns. We have seen new ones such as dependency injection rise to power, and of course, what seemed so amazing ┬áin 1999 is an old relic by today’s architectural standards. Things always evolve, but today’s agile proponents sound like they have the absolute and immutable answer.

In reality, many agile methodologies are naive and outdated, or applied in an overly zealous manner. They’re certainly better than no methodology at all, because it’s otherwise hard to get everyone on the same page. But people must remain open-minded when others challenge their methodology or find better ways to do things. Accept the fact that years from, you will look back at your current methodology and say “what were we thinking?” I’m sure that at the time, people thought that the DDT insecticide was a good idea, until it was eventually banned.

3 thoughts on “Methodologies are not Infallible or Timeless

  1. gooh

    The irony is that people fanatically following a single agile methodology are likely not agile at all. Rather it’s the “people staying open-minded when others challenge their methodology or find better ways to do things” that are agile. But of course, an agile mindset is not as marketable as an agile methodology. And it’s harder to cultivate an agile culture than it is to just adopt an agile methodology.

  2. i think is more the part of the community which does not follow any methodology than the one that does. I have seen teams thinking they are agile just because they use jira or codebase where in fact the work is totally broken out in ways nobody understand and is only old based gantt type management. Methodologies are not the trick, it is how you use them and in fact if you use them then they turn effective. To have to make them switch is another story, because is more people that tend to stick to their old ways than then ones willing to make any progress or improve things. If we advocate for the ones that stick padding them on the back i think is not telling them the whole deal.

  3. @gooh I agree with what you say about the “agile culture”. Some methodologies are actually a very strict set of procedures to which one has to adhere, which is precisely what an agile methodology should *not* be.

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