Ravi Mohan's Blog

Monday, March 07, 2005

None So Blind... The Agile India Conference Experience Report Part 2

Thanks to problems setting up the laptop I missed Brett's presentation. I listened to Mridul's talk on "Kernel Programming + Agile" and then it was my turn . We grabbed some lunch and then went to see if we could attend some seminars . Unfortunately all of the presentations in the afternoon were boring as hell . Most were about "combining waterfall and agile" Apparently there was a talk earlier in the morning about a "wagile" methodology . If you, the reader, just fell off your chair or threw up , you can imagine my reaction.

I think God is having His revenge on me for generally being disrespectful and specifically for using a Dilbert Cartoon as a presentation aide. when i looked at all those PHB types drone on and on about "waterfall and agile are complementary " , i felt i was inside a Dilbert strip . I think a lot of clueless managers in Bangalore have latched on to the "latest buzzword" and are busy "optimizing" (bwaaa ha ha !! this is a private joke . i actually met a (totally dilbertian) manager who said "my main skill is optimizing" if you mention this to Abey or me, we'll fall around in hysterics ) and "combining" it with whatever outmoded nonsense they know about "managing software teams" .

It is very frustrating to see how much traction this stupid idea is getting in Bangalore amongst people who don't want to change how they or their companies function but want to be "agile" so they can fool their clients into giving them more money.

I have said so before and i will say it again .

The primary facilitating factor for "going agile" is a culture that respects no hierarchy but that of competence and maintains an atmosphere of total openess and trust.

now how many companies in Bangalore work like this ? 3 ? 5 ? you get the idea .

In the evening the organizers asked me to be on a panel on "distributed agile " . There was this person on the panel (who shall remain nameless) who claimed that his "whole life is agile" (!!! ) and then went on to proclaim a lot of "waterfall " ideas (eg:" 'novices ' should have their yahoo messengers monitored by a 'senior' developer to make sure they don't say anything "dangerous" to a client" ).I have never heard such nonsense in my life . I really lost my cool and did what i could to rip his arguments apart.

The audience loved it :-D .

An artist sketching the panel drew me in a furious, scowling figure. If i can get a copy of the drawing from Manoj Bharadwaj i will certainly put it up here .

Because one of my friends was leaving Bangalore , i missed the second day of the conference .

too bad, because i was looking forward to hear Fred George, Dakshinamurthy Karra ,Simon Harris(author of Simian), Henry Jacob and Luke Barret speak .The last two seem to be focussed on Interaction Design in an agile fashion. Alas it was not to be .

All in all it is wonderful that such conferences are happening in India . If the Agile India Society can just keep going we may see many more such events .On the other hand it may just wither and die.

we'll see .

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