Mar 16 2014Comments
Dave Thomas urges us to kill the word "agile". Many of the original leaders in agile software development have now disavowed the term. Why? In short, it's been devalued. Literally, stripped of its values. Today, the word is used as a capitalize noun, as in the hideous phrasing, "Do Agile," rather than as the lowercase adjective it was meant to be.
The word "Agile" always seemed like a branding initiative, bundling together the various things we had been calling "lightweight methods" and giving them a business-friendly label. It succeeded. No manager in their right mind goes on record saying, "Agile? We'll have none of that, thank you very much."
Dave suggests that we need an adverb rather than an adjective. It should describe how we develop software, rather than describing ourselves.
I think we face the same problem, and the same debate, with the label "DevOps."
Here's my proposal. We do need a label for a style of organization. Not for a team, nor for the individuals within that organization. If nothing else, we need that label as a shorthand to describe the style of interaction we expect. It helps us understand what culture to expect.
However, I think we also need a label that isn't so attractive to tool vendors and Big Process consultancies.
I propose we adopt the adverb "Etsily". It refers to Etsy of course, since they are the avatars of DevOps anyway. It sounds a little bit silly, so it should safely repel the blue-shirt consultants and enterprise tool vendors. Finally, it's an adverb so it can be used in sentences like, "We build things etsily."