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Is Agile Elitist?

The best way to do software development is to get hold of master programmers

The best way to do software development is to get hold of master programmers. Get them to form a self organizing team and do the development in short increments.

That is agile.

What happens if you cannot find sufficient number of master programmers?

Get as many master programmers as you can. For the rest of the team get programmers who aspire to become a master programmer and has a good chance of becoming one. Get them to form a self organizing team and do the development in short increments.

At the end of the development cycle the aspiring master programmers would have taken steps towards becoming master programmers. Few of the may indeed have become master programmers.

That is also agile.

But…

What if you cannot find enough programmers who aspire to and capable of become master programmers?

What choices do you have?
Somehow attract the right people. Pay more … create the right atmosphere … make the environment challenging … build a learning culture … solve interesting problem …

Wait till you assemble the right team.

What if your business imperative does not provide you with the luxury of time?

What if you organization culture, structure, dynamics is not conducive for creating such teams?

Should you reinvent your organization?
Do you think it would be easy? Do you think it would be possible to undertake such a transition? Do you think every organization can do it successfully?

What if there aren’t enough people in the world who aspire to and capable of become master programmers?

What about the software development problem that is not good enough to get master programmers interested?

Should you take sub-optimal approach?
How about building your team with best people that you can assemble?

This team may require the guidance of a master, may require to be managed, may need a process to follow and they may need to be directed.

Majority of the team members may not aspire to become a master programmer. They may visualize their career to follow a different path.

Many organizations may have no choice but to choose such a path.

The question is…

…can they adopt agile?

or

…is agile reserved only for the elite team?

If they do adopt agile, would an agile expert turn around, put his nose up and say that is not agile?

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More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
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