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Microsoft and Agile - Divergent Agendas?

| by Steve Freeman Follow 0 Followers on Jun 15, 2007. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

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Recent events raise the question: is Microsoft at risk of making Agility harder for developers who work on their platforms? Do their development tools get in the way? Is it too hard, or perhaps even dangerous, to promote Agile techniques that change the way we work with Microsoft products? Now's the time to speak up.

Two recent events suggest that Microsoft is not as effective as it might be at embracing the Agile community: the company is threatening Jamie Carsdale with legal action to get him to withdraw his TestDriven.Net extension from VisualStudio Express, and Martin Fowler has been questioning its grip on leading-edge developers, the "alpha-geeks". As Martin points out, Microsoft's development of an incompatible rival to NUnit alienated many developers, especially as it only shipped with higher-end versions of VisualStudio. One could argue that TestDriven.Net only exists because Microsoft left a gap in the ecology.

It's hard to judge the legal merits of the TestDriven.Net case from the outside; both Jamie and Microsoft's product manager Dan Fernandez seem pretty sure of their positions. What's clear from reading the comments on their respective blogs and on forums such as SlashDot is that Microsoft is not winning any popularity contests right now. Even if Microsoft turns out to be right, goes to court and wins, they risk a publicity wreck like the  "McLibel" case.

As Martin wrote, there are people within Microsoft trying to improve things: Peter Laudati asks for continued feedback, and the VisualStudio team achieved a lot by getting out a free version of their software. Others, such as Sam Gentile, a long-standing convert to Agile, fear that Microsoft and the programmers it targets (the "Morts") don't understand how Agile development works.

The risk for the Agile community is a widening divide between Microsoft and Agile developers, as each pursue different visions. Given Microsoft's dominance in the market, that isn't going to make our lives any easier. This makes it important that we speak up, urging Microsoft product managers to deliver the infrastructure we need.

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Does it matter? by Bruce Rennie

First, this looks like a legal issue pertaining to product packaging and not necessarily related to agile in particular.

But I'm also not sure why I should expect Microsoft's agenda to match my own. Heck, I suspect that Martin Fowler's agenda doesn't match mine. That won't stop me from reading what he has to say and using anything of his that I feel would be valuable. I'll treat Microsoft the same way.

If agile development truly is relevant, well, MS will follow the dollars.

Btw, is there any irony to the fact that this article was posted just a few days ago? www.infoq.com/news/2007/06/ms-escrum

Re: Does it matter? by Deborah Hartmann

> Btw, is there any irony to the fact that this
> article was posted just a few days ago?
> www.infoq.com/news/2007/06/ms-escrum

Interesting, too, that Microsoft released E-Scrum when they ALREADY had an "agile" methodology/toolset, MSF for Agile, which is publicly available for VSTS users (but seems seldom used outside MS). Not sure how much it's used inside MS, it's not mandated - methodology choices are left up to individual groups.

Re: Does it matter? by Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz


Interesting, too, that Microsoft released E-Scrum when they ALREADY had an "agile" methodology/toolset, MSF for Agile, which is publicly available for VSTS users (but seems seldom used outside MS). .


I think MSF for agile is a nice light weight methodology - but it isn't really agile
See what Ken Schwaber had to say about it

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