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Agile Criticism

Sobhana Narasimhan
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 30, 2007
Posts: 3
Hi,
I just happened to read few articles about Agile processes and it really interested me and ofcourse raised few doubts/misconceptions about the process. Following is my query
Agile development is sometimes termed as "Cowboy coding" because it lacks proper structure, clear scope and vision and thus may result in a poor quality software.
Is it a misunderstanding of the methodology? Does your book address these issues and other criticisms that Agile methodology faces?
Ilja Preuss
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
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Ilja Preuss
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Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
As far as I can tell, cowboy coding is not exactly known for a focus on continuous testing, planning and design improvement, let alone having a fully functional, fully tested system at least at the end of every other week.

So, yes, it seems that those comparisons must be based on misconceptions.
Jeff Langr
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Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
I believe some agile processes don't emphasize enough how difficult it is to keep a code base clean enough over time. Without such continual efforts, a system will turn to mush quickly in an iterative/incremental development (IID) world.

Sustaining a system under agile requires considerable discipline. Cowboy coding in the IID environment will only hasten the death of a system.

I think you need clear standards, continual code/design review, continual attentiveness to design via TDD, and continual integration of code in order to survive, things that only some agile processes discuss. Most cowboy coders fear these things.

Jeff


Books: Agile Java, Modern C++ Programming with TDD, Essential Java Style, Agile in a Flash. Contributor, Clean Code.
Frank Martinig
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2004
Posts: 59
You will find an interesting comment from Kent Beck on "cowboy coding" and agility in a recent interview with Computerworld:

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9046399&pageNumber=2

The remaining of the interview is interesting to read also

Franck


<a href="http://www.martinig.ch" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.martinig.ch</a>
Johanna Rothman
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Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 56
Originally posted by Member07:
...
Agile development is sometimes termed as "Cowboy coding" because it lacks proper structure, clear scope and vision and thus may result in a poor quality software.
Is it a misunderstanding of the methodology? Does your book address these issues and other criticisms that Agile methodology faces?[/QB]


For the record, Agile is the most disciplined approach to software engineering. It is not cowboy coding in any sense of the imagination.

Can there be a problem with the architecture because the team didn't spend months defining it first? Possibly. AND, I've met plenty of projects that had architecture troubles because they thought about it for months and didn't do anything.

Manage It! is not an explanation of why Agile works; it shows ways to think about your projects and use processes, techniques, and tools that will work.

Johanna


Author of <a href="http://www.pragprog.com/titles/jrpm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management</a><br /> <br />Coauthor (with Esther Derby) of <a href="http://www.pragprog.com/titles/rdbcd" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management</a><br /> <br />Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932633595/ref=jranch-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hiring The Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets & Science of Hiring Technical People</a><br /> <br /><a href="http://www.jrothman.com/blog/htp" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hiring Technical People blog</a><br /><a href="http://www.jrothman.com/blog/mpd" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Managing Product Development blog</a>
 
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subject: Agile Criticism
 
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