Last week I attended the XP2007 conference (I hope to write more on that later), and found myself asked on several occasions by “newbies” to agile about “what they should do in xxx situation”. Happy to offer an ear, I found it nice being able to share my own experiences, and offer some guidance and a number suggestions they might take. Their responses varied and seemed to fall into two camps.
Some people gave my words some thought, and thanked me for my suggestions. They asked a few more questions about the suggestions and at least I felt they might try a few of them.
Others had a very different response, claiming that in their situation none of my suggestions would work. They went on to explain their situation in greater detail, asking many leading questions so much that I almost felt being cornered into giving a yes or no answer. Wary of the consequence of a definitive answer, I persisted in only giving them suggestions and the positive and negative impacts they might or might not have given my experience.
Unfortunately I didn’t feel like the latter camp took many of my suggestions on board, and I am sure will be eventually disappointed to find the elusive silver bullet does not exist. Although agile methods, their practices and values offer a lot, like many things in the real world, takes both effort and courage to make them really work.