Will Using Agile Get You Promoted?

January 6, 2010

What a dreadfully shallow question! You ignoramus! How superficial can you get? You’re not using Agile practices to make the world a better place?

Hell no! Anybody who blows that smoke up your skirt deserves the slapping they get. If we’re really honest, we use Agile methods because they directly benefit us in one of the following fashions:

  1. Using Agile gets you promoted
  2. Using Agile gets you a raise

Any other reasoning is just propaganda used to keep the proletariat happy, right?  Why else would you do it? The idealist in me has a ready response: We use Agile practices because:

  1. We produce a better quality product
  2. We deliver faster
  3. We are happier with our work

But how do we measure these benefits? If using Agile helps us produce a better quality product, then presumably our customers would be happier – and happier customers = more revenue. If you’re team is delivering more revenue, then isn’t it reasonable to expect some sort of reward? A raise? A promotion? The same argument applies to answers 2 and 3. I’m sure there are other ways that people express appreciation, but in modern corporations today there are really two predominant ways to recognize success: a promotion or a raise. Otherwise you are just a tool for somebody else getting the promotion or the raise.

So what if you are using Agile and you are not getting a promotion or a raise? Well, I would maintain that Agile isn’t really benefiting *you* much. I can use a lot of different methodologies and still not get a promotion or a raise. Why use Agile if it doesn’t benefit you in some material way? Because it makes other people happy?

I know this is all sounds terribly, awfully, cynical of me, but I can’t help but ask the question (OK, so I’m a bit of a curmudgeon sometimes – I’m probably going to regret it). However, I do think that every once in a while we need to step back and ask ourselves, “Why bother?” So please forgive the cynical nature of the post. For me, using Agile often gets me raises, so I should have no complaints. But it doesn’t always work that way. How about you?