Actually Agile?

June 27, 2011

I’ve been working with a third party product, that shall remain nameless, at work.

A couple weeks ago, we installed the latest version in our test environment. I’ve been rewriting an application that moves data from our software to their software. It’s mostly been going well, but someone else noticed a bug. She jumped on their website and saw that their have been 4 patches since we deployed to my test environment.

When I hard that, my first reaction was cynical. I almost laughed at it because my gut reaction was that it was ridiculous to have that many bug fixes in such a short time.

Then, I came across a performance problem with an operation on their web service. It worked ok at the beginning of the move, but slowed down over time. I got in touch with them to find out what they can do about it. They responded stating they could add a new operation that takes an array of objects instead of a single object. Then, we can just pass them all at once rather than one at a time. I responded “ok”. A while after, that, I was informed that the feature request had been implemented in patch 7 and was ready for download.

That’s when I realized my cynicism was unwarranted. For the last 10 years, I’ve worked for “agile” companies, but said agility never makes it to the clients. I’ve always been on scheduled releases even while, internally, we make daily deliverables. This vendor is differnet. They’re agile to the immediate benefit of the customer. They were able to turn around that request very quickly.

Anyway, I thought that was pretty cool and wanted to share.