Welcome to another post in my “Death of agile” series. This post is an open letter to Dan North, the ‘father’ of BDD.

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Dear Dan,

I’ve been meaning to talk to you about some of your recent conference keynotes, specifically “Patterns Of Effective Delivery” and “Agile Doesn’t Scale.” It’s not that I have any issues with your observations, but I think the audiences you deliver them to might not be taking them in the way you intend.

Dan North

In “Patterns Of Effective Delivery” (and your Accelerated Agile course) you describe how an amazing team of developers are able to quickly and effectively develop trading software without adhering to any of the technical practices that are generally recommended, such as test driven development (TDD) or peer review. It’s an entertaining keynote, but I worry that the accelerated patterns you describe are not applicable to the majority of software teams and that if the audience mistakenly adopt them it might do them serious harm.

Then in “Agile Doesn’t Scale” you say, well, that agile doesn’t scale. In our email exchange you point out that none of the popular agile methods say much about scaling to larger organisations and that the techniques that do claim to scale are largely unproven. There are numerous examples of successful, multi-team, agile projects out there, and just because they don’t use out-of-the-box solutions, doesn’t mean they’re not agile. People might assume that agile approaches are only useful for small projects.