Jeff Patton says that agile development is more of a culture than a process. It is quite refreshing to read constructive a constructive discussion on the topic, though it did put pressure on me to really understand what culture meant, and it can have several meanings. I think agile can be agile because it asks you to follow a set of principles without being restrictive about how we do that. I like to call it a process style, which lets you implement your own process to be agile.
An important fact that the article highlights is that even Winston Royce, who drew the waterfall model, did not believe in its implementation. Why does the industry love it so much? I think the primary reason for that is it presents an easiest project management. Frozen requirements, plans, deadlines and finances offer a much easier path to completion than moving targets. I think our anxiety to complete software projects drives us to fix these things and follow the waterfall model. Contrary to Jeff, I think that the waterfall model does not let me demonstrate my skill and competence, the planned approach only curbs it. There is a better chance to exhibit them if I get to do the things the way I believe.
Whatever we call agile development – a culture, a process, a process style or a cult, it is important that we believe in the agile development principles and benefits before we adopt them. If not, it will probably be just another waterfall model, where we do things because we have been told to do them. While I don’t think that culture is process, there is no better word than culture to highlight the importance of belief.