What Football Can Teach AgileFiled Under Software Process, Thought Stuff
Scott Belware is currently pondering what tomorrow’s Agile methodologies will be. A good and noble question indeed, but at this point in time I feel this question can be misleading. If the old (Waterfall) is in the East and the new (Agile) is in the West, does tomorrow’s Agile methods lie further West or more towards the East? I will try to be more clear, and here is where football comes to play.
The NFL adopted instant replay in 1999. Referees could now replay what had occurred and it was viewed as a great evolution to the game. Unfortunately, referees became much more dependent on the technology. Games became longer. Players and fans didn’t appreciate the long waits between plays. People started to hate instant replay.
In 2004, the NFL got wise and realized that a blend of both technology and human interaction was needed to “iterate” plays quicker. As a result, instant replay was available to teams in controversial situations and referees were able to make decisions that kept the game moving.
With unanswered questions such as the relationship between Agile and fixed budgets, the transition from Waterfall to Agile seems impossible to most. As a result, should we be concentrating on better Agile practices that move further West or explore back East to find a better blend? Maybe a better East-West blend doesn’t exist, but could we find processes that help bridge the transition between Waterfall and Agile, thus increasing adoption rates?