Brian Marick complains about people, like me, who prefer to use dictionary definitions of words such as agile, instead of capitalizing the word and using it as a brand name, as he does. Read his blog post here.
In his post, Brian said, It really gripes me when people argue that their particular approach is “agile” because it matches the dictionary definition of the word, that being “characterized by quickness, lightness, and ease of movement; nimble.” While I like the word “agile” as a token naming what we do, I was there when it was coined. It was not meant to be an essential definition. It was explicitly conceived of as a marketing term: to be evocative, to be less dismissable than “lightweight” (the previous common term).
Brian says he was there when it was coined. I think he’s talking about the meeting where the Agile Manifesto was produced. Actually, Jim Highsmith was promoting the term before that meeting, and spoke to me about it. Then he went to that meeting and suddenly there’s a manifesto.
Before and after the Agile Manifesto meeting, I had a number of conversations with Jim Highsmith and with Brian Marick. I served on the Cutter IT Council with Jim Highsmith, and I worked at Reliable Software Technologies with Brian Marick. We talked. It was always my understanding that “agile” meant agile. The Agile Manifesto looks to me like an enumeration of the factors that allow software development to be agile. That’s why I like the manifesto.
The idea that agile was always supposed to be a brand name and not taken literally does not hold water. This wasn’t at all what we were talking about, back then. Agile became another word for Extreme Programming about five years ago, as the inevitable forces of marketing worked their special magic.
How strange that Brian should argue that agile is a word like “glade” in Glade air freshener, as if we should have known all along that we were buying a fragrance of an idea, not the idea itself.
No Brian. You can’t have agile. Agile belongs to us, the English speaking world, and it belongs to us, the people who want to promote agility in software development. We are taking it back.