We humans like to take a very soft cloud of ideas and give it a name, such as Waterfall or Scrum or Lean or Kanban, in an attempt to get a better handle on some good ideas. We also seem to have an irresistible impulse to describe how good our Named Cloud is compared to some other Named Cloud. I imagine part of this is no more than a normal desire to share our Internal Cloud with others, so that they may benefit. Sometimes we seem to go overboard with that, to Named Cloud Bashing.
"Kanban is better than XP because Kanban has more WIP."
"XP is better than Kanban because in XP we have actual programming."
Sometimes it seems that all this revolves around personalities. I know of a small number of people who appear to me to think Scrum is bad because they don’t like Ken. There must, therefore, be hundreds of people who think XP is bad because of Yours Truly.
Is It Still Scrum If ...
Trouble with clouds is that they change. They even run into each other as the wind blows them around. That cloud you stupidly thought looked like a bunny ran into my cloud that looks exactly like a dinosaur. Now it looks totally like New York, and you foolishly insist that now it is a big dinosaur-eating bunny.
"Is it still Scrum if we use a kanban board instead of a burndown?"
"Is it still XP if we don't break things down into tasks but just use stories?"
Who the hell cares???
The question we ought to be asking is whether, if we adopt this idea from wherever we found it, will we do better than if we adopt this other idea. The absolutely best way to determine this is to try it. We can get ideas from experts, even if they happen to be proponents of Other Named Clouds Which Shall Be Anathema.
Ad Processem: A Continuing Kind of Fallacy
The process wars have gone on more than long enough. It doesn’t matter who had an idea, or what process originally contained an idea. What matters is what ideas we apply skillfully and wisely to our situation in order to improve it.
I’ve been helping software development teams improve for a long time now. In so doing, I draw ideas from the whole range of the Fuzzy Cloud Cluster named Agile. I try to give credit where it is due to the individuals who invented this idea, if I know them, or to the authors who best describe the idea.
But that Named Cloud that looks like a Rat today? I don’t think we should care much about that, because the wind is blowing away the front part of it and very shortly no one is going to give a Rat’s Ass about what it used to be.