A buddy told me of a problem he encounters in his otherwise perfect Agile team.  Some feature gets raised as a need that requires an inventive solution.  Two possibilities arise that could deliver the feature after some development.  Each has a proponent, and is explained.  Each of the proponents really likes their own idea and not that of their colleague.  There are mechanisms that Agile teams use to do the most appropriate, but generally they should quest for simplicity.

That's where the problem lies if both of the developers in question are a) debating in isolation and b) pretty keen to see their idea dominate even if it is more complicated.

Each will quickly and gratuitously reiterate that their idea is more simple.  They will even try to emphasis the word 'simple' as they elaborate the solution. They will also use as many synonyms for simple, simpler, simplest, simplicity as they can.

It is a disingenuous practice and should be defeated where witnessed with a quick peer review of the merits of each solution.  Of course it would be better if people pulled themselves back from such behavior - especially for an Agile team - and honestly quested for the 'simplest' way.

I like to think of this Agile anti-pattern as "Simple Wars"
Mar 3, 2007

[update: June 29, 2009] Another variation is the use of the word for 'just' in conjunction with some idea or proposal. "Why don't we just do X". Yeesh!


March 3rd, 2007