Imagine my surprise when Agile 2.0 was “announced” at the recent EclipseCon 2013 in Boston. Here I am thinking the simple tenets so clearly outlined in the The Agile Manifesto of 2001 have yet to be fulfilled by most software organizations more than a decade later. Sure, some organizations may comply in form, but not in true spirit or fact. And yet, there were eager consultants on hand ready to shrink wrap the “next and better” version of Agile, Agile 2.0.
Speaking of selling chickens still in shells, an august panel of industry giants laid out their recent improvements and plans for ALM products (Application Lifecycle Management, for those not in the know). These guys dazzled the audience with how they’ve moved far beyond simple source code repositories and testing tools to a complete integration of all modern software practices. Quite a coup, indeed, since most real live software developers I’m seeing out there today still aren’t using the practices automated by the ALM tools. Jeffery Hammond from Forrester sees it the same way. He polled software developers and found 18% didn’t even use source version control. Another industry insider later told me he’d polled the people at his talk about testing: How many of them used test driven development, acceptance test driven development, OR behavior driven development? Note his was an OR question, not AND, and that everyone in the room developed software for a living. Only three out of the some 100 people in the room raised their hands.
In other words, many software developers aren’t using practices such as test driven development or source version control. Yet here are HP, Microsoft, and IBM announcing new ALM tools that automate more advanced practice in areas not even in use in the first place. Unbelievable.
If more of the software developers complied with the practices needed to develop a complete increment of software, we might have something to automate. They don’t, so there are few practices to automate.
And this is when ALM industry revenues are $5-7B per year. Rather than pushing the next iteration of ALM for future use, let’s put these revenues to work now helping developers learn how to use modern practices. Further, this money should go toward creating work places where these practices are encouraged, perhaps even mandatory.
So, perhaps, ALM has the cart before the horse? Who knows? I’ve had my head down working with developers for so long I may have missed something, like that Agile 2.0 release that snuck by me.