Last week we had the Agile Brazil Conference, which gathered more than eight hundred people from different states of Brazil, England, France, Canada, and the United States. Martin Fowler, David Hussman, and Philippe Kruchten were here.

Fowler at the Agile Brazil 2010 Conference

Fowler at the Agile Brazil 2010 Conference

Today I would like to talk a little about Martin Fowler’s key note. He divided it in three talks of 20 minutes each. The first he called the essence of Agile. After talking about the origin of the agile manifesto, he explained a phenomenon that he calls semantic diffusion and according to him it is happing in agile software development right now.

After getting popularity the ideas can easily get lost. People are just thinking about what the process suggest them to do, and in fact, a lot of people says that they doing   agile for 3 or 4 years, but then, when we go to see what they are really doing, we see something that we would never call agile.

Fowler talked about the changing nature of software, and that the difference of agile is that planning and execution is done in a very high frequency, and then it is possible to learn from what happens in each iteration. This is not a chaotic approach because there is still a lot of planning on it. The difference is that agile doesn’t try to predict everything, and releases early and often. Agile focus on how much value is delivered instead of being concerned about up-front plans.

Adaptive plan needs evolutionary design, and this needs as much design as the other approaches but in a different way (refactoring, self test code, continuos integration, simple design). Read Fowler’s article “Is design dead?” for more information.

Another aspect of agile, according to Fowler is that  the process should change over time. Evolve. That’s self adaptability. That’s, for example, is the importance of agile retrospectives. Its an ongoing exercise to improve our work continuously, said Fowler. He mentioned a quota from Kent Beck that says “i n software development perfect not an adjective it’s a verb”.

Well, I guess this is it for today. Thank you very much for listen, and please post your comments and feedback. I’ll talk you again next week.

Download podcast mp3 file here