To Iterate or Not to Iterate

I love it when the experts don't agree. It makes me feel smarter. Because, by not agreeing with any of the experts, I actually feel like I am one of them. This is the notion I got today when starting my research on iterations in software development projects. I quickly found these articles: "Are iterations hazardous to your project?" (Alistair Cockburn), "It's not about the iteration timebox" (Jason Yip), "No More Iterations" (Wayne Allen) and "Time-boxed iteration: an idea whose time has come and gone" (Corey Ladas). And that is only after 15 minutes of digging around. I look forward to the rest of the disagreements.

Why do all experts disagree with each other? It's because all of them express their opinions using a very limited frame of reference. Even the busiest consultants and project managers on earth can only experience an extremely small number of software projects in real life. It's like they are all making statements about biological systems in general after having only had first-hand experience with dung beetles in South Africa.

Am I any different? Well, yes! First of all, I try not to draw any conclusions from my own experience. I try to find and evaluate all other people's experiences before forming any opinion of my own. (My own experiences usually turn out to be special and limited forms of very generic patterns.) Second, I try to match any findings with theoretical and practical findings in systems theory. Third, I have only limited experience with dung beetles in South Africa.

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  • http://blogs.consultantsguild.com Wayne Allen

    I can’t speak for the others, but I am only relaying my personal decisions that are closely tied to my specific context. How else can one evaluate other people’s experiences if they don’t communicate them?

  • http://noop.nl Jurgen Appelo

    Point well taken! Isn’t it also true that many people prefer social networks and aggregated content over the limited contexts of individual blogs? Though were would those aggregators be if it weren’t for you and me and those zillion other individuals?

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