Everytime I get in an argument with someone over Agile or XP (I'm not a proponent which I found out means I am definitively an opponent) we basically end up solidifying our disagreement and it usually ends with them saying "Well, you just don't get it."
I especially don't get this new craze of a job of "Agile Coach". I mean, everything I've read about Agile and XP seems dead simple. (then again "i dont get it")
daily standup meetings
I even did XP at Morgan Stanley for 6 months and it was no rinky-dink attempt either. We hired 2 consultants from Object Mentor, in addition to Josh Kerievesky. We seemingly had all we needed but the project crashed hard. I don't specifically blame XP - I think the project was shaky and the dot-com bubble finished it off (I left after my contract was up, but some 300+ were laid off and the office closed soonly thereafter). Josh did the post-mortem, not sure what he concluded.
But I'm still confused why I need a "coach" for Agile. I'd WAY rather have a coach for Java Generics, type theory, or God-help me, C++ templates. That stuff is definitely harder. Comparatively, agile seems a no-brainer. Seems like if you need a coach for something as trivial as Agile, you haven't a prayer with the type inference used in Java Generics or traits in C++.
The only thing I can come up with is that an Agile Coach is not really a "Coach" so much as a hall monitor or a secret police officer. As in - Agile is not fun (or maybe even inefficient for some people/circumstances) and people keep trying to stop doing the dumbest parts. Then, you need a "coach" to come in, serve kool-aid, and yell at them to start doing it again. Now mind you, the coach doesn't exactly yell at you - he more like "coaches" you like you're missing the point. He comes in like:
"Oh no no no.. you're doing pair programming all wrong!!! You're supposed to have TWO people for pair programming!!"
"Really!!?? OMGosh. I was wondering what the hell fruit had to do with all this."
"Yeah!! Thats why they call it PAIR programming!!!"
"Ha. like pants!"
"Yeah! like pants!"
"OH! But, um, does my stuffed monkey count?"
"Hrm. um. Good question. Lemme go email Kent Beck".
I really have nothing against Agile or XP. Its pretty much common sense stuff. Tracking and predicting your progress on any project (bridge building, designing car engines, or software) is pretty reasonable. Meeting everyday might be overboard in some circumstances but it might not be too. Testing is embedded in all work-related stuff I do anyway - bring it on.
I'm just a bit skeptical I need a "coach" to make sure I'm standing up correctly at my daily meeting. Some jobs appear only when business is good and are the first to go when times get bad. If we assume that eventually, times always get bad - then I guess we'll find out if Agile Coach is one of those.
I am however a little disturbed about the zealousness of the people trying to sell me on it. It has all the makings of a religion. Followers, sermons, prophets, perpetually changing rules, holy books, faith, and high-priced consultants. And like I said, plenty of angry zeal. For now I think I'll remain "not getting it" and get on ebay and see if I can find a stuffed monkey.