Saturday, August 11, 2007


Why IT Executives Aren't Embracing Agility...

Have you noticed that IT executives and Enterprise Architects aren't talking about agile methods for software development anymore?

Sure, you can find a handful every once in a blue moon but reality states that IT executives prefer heavyweight processes over lighter-weight ones. Besides, we know that the notion of human capital in India provides us with lots of willing eager junior developers who will work hard to deliver and that resistance to outsourcing is futile. We know that outsourcing removes the ability for someone in the US to truly find top talent in India unless they get on a plane and do interviews face-to-face as relying on the telephone doesn't provide as good of a picture.

Besides, agility in terms of resume building only works at the lower tiers of an organization. For example, if I am lower on the food chain, I may be interested in becoming a certified SCRUM master because it looks good and will impress folks. However, if I am an IT executive, individual certifications are less important in terms of the resume. What becomes more important is to have the ability to state that you led an organization that was certified. Acknowledging this fact will cause IT executives to care more about certifications such as CMM, ISO and so on over things related to being agile.

In terms of outsourcing, an American IT executive understands that agility works best if the developers are from the Americas and is futile if they are from other more rigid cultures. Ask yourself, why would any India-based outsourcing firm wholesale embrace agile methods when it is more profitable to overpromise, place lots of butts in seats and underdeliver?

IT executives aren't idiots and know more than they typically discuss in public. They probably know at least from intuition that asking an India based outsourcing firm to employ lighter weight practices is as futile as shoveling sand in a psunami. Enterprise Architects on the other hand also aren't championing lighter-weight methods not because they don't believe it has value but more to the fact that agilists don't necessarily have the right credibility.

If you have looked at the original signatories of the Agile Manifesto, you will surely notice that 100% of the members were consultants. Not a single member was an employee of a Fortune enterprise whose primary business model isn't technology. You have to agree on some level that putting trust into consultants as a strategy is somewhat suspect. The real question though is will agilists realize that in order for agility to take its true position in the world, that some diversity amongst its community is required and that they should become proactive in ensuring it happens?

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