Are You Suffering From Versusitis?

Scott W. Ambler + Associates
 
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Recently reviewed Versusitis is a debilitating disease that afflicts a large number of IT professionals.  The symptoms of versusitis include:
  • The desire to think of things in absolute terms: You must adopt all of Scrum's practices otherwise you're not really doing Scrum.
  • Thinking in terms of absolute trade-offs: Either you're a Microsoft shop or you're a Linux shop, you couldn't possibly use both operating systems in the same environment.
  • Posting messages to mailing lists with subject lines in the format "X vs. Y", such as "XP vs. RUP" or "Agile vs. CMMI".
 

 

The Impact

Versusitis reduces your effectiveness as an IT professional because it inhibits you from seeing the shades of gray that exist between the extremes of black and white.  For example, many organizations have adopted Scrum's daily stand-up meetings and its philosophy about managing requirements, but have given up on Scrum's concept of product owner due to scalability concerns.  As a result they've needlessly lost out on the potential benefit of these techniques.

 

The Cure

The cure for versusitis is to become more flexible in your thinking.  You must recognize that that the real world is in fact analog although as technologists we work in a binary world of zeros and ones. In particular, recognize that when it comes to soft issues such as process, there are no absolutes, and you must find the sweet spot between the extremes. For example some people realize that they can leverage agile techniques within a CMMI environment because they can prove compatible in practice. The point is that the religious fervor that we often see around process-related subjects rarely helps people to understand and identify how they can successfully benefit from new ideas.

Remember the old saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  People who either are, or are working on becoming, generalizing specialists, appear to be innocculated against versusitis, apparently because of their greater range of experience and willingness to learn new skills.

By working together, we can stamp out versusitis forever!

 

Let Us Help

We actively work with clients around the world to improve their information technology (IT) practices, typically in the role of mentor/coach, team lead, or trainer.  A full description of what we do, and how to contact us, can be found at Scott W. Ambler + Associates


Disciplined Agile Delivery: The Foundation for Scaling Agile Agile Modeling: Practices for Scaling Agile Agile Data: Practices for Scaling Agile EnterpriseUP: Agility at Scale AgileUP: Towards Disciplined Agile DeliveryAmbysoft Inc. Software Development Practices Advisor Scott Ambler + Associates Follow @scottwambler on Twitter!


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