The Agile Manifesto has its heart in the right place, We are only worried about its ‘mind’. And its first principle “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software”, is central to the ideas in this paper.
Our problem with agile is not in its ideals, but in the everyday teaching and practices we see. What has happened, is the same problem afflicting all software and IT projects, long before agile appeared. Our technocratic culture has forgotten our stakeholders and their values. The practices are far too ‘programmer centric’, and far too little ‘stakeholder value’ centric. The result is that ‘working software’ is delivered to a ‘customer’.
But, necessary values are not necessarily, and all too rarely, delivered to all critical stakeholders.
Code has no value in itself. We can deliver bug free code, that has little or none of the anticipated value. We can deliver software function, as defined in requirements, to the ‘customer’ – but totally fail to deliver critical value to many critical stakeholders.
We fear this paper may not correct the narrow-mindedness of the coder community, and our principles do apply to a higher level of thinking than coding; but we are going to try to formulate a much clearer set of principles, a more explicit set; and in the subsequent paper, clearer ‘values’ than the Agilistas managed to do. We have one decided advantage – We are not subject to lowest common denominator politics – as they were – We can express our own opinion – unopposed!