Tangential comments about Software Development

Sunday, March 09, 2008

(Fr)Agile Egos

I'm a great believer in customer contact, getting them to think in terms of value to the project and then selecting tasks that deliver most value. It's the right way to run an agile project.

But a recent project is straining my goodwill. The customers have some technical proficiency and are setting the 'how' as well as the 'what'. For instance how should two web pages communicate? I said the simplest thing that could possibly work was a text page, the customer insisted on URL despite issues with length and character encoding.

I built the URL version, it started creaking with those issues, so we needed to change. Text file? No - it's now a web service, which is all modern and lovely. The project wall lost it's pink postit saying "Do the simplest thing..." and has a new postit saying "do the coolest thing that could possibly be coded".

To function in this environment it seems I have to have a very agile ego, where being overruled on technical matters is to be expected. Living by the agile mantra of feedback, I shall let the customers know about this post, and see whether there's any change in working pattern.