Introducing Agile in India, the Agile India 2005 conference jointly organized by the Agile Software Community of India (ASCI) (founded by a group of enthusiastic Agile practitioners from companies that practice Agile Software Development methodologies) and Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR) saw a lot of serious discussion and a lot of fun. It was also a huge success, evident from the fact that Agile / XP are becoming more and more popular in the Indian Software Community. Which, a bunch of Agile enthusiasts in Bangalore proved by forming an Agile India Users group. Research on Google searches and you will notice that a large volume of agile development searches are coming from Bangalore, India’s answer to the Silicon Valley in California, US of A.
And, while the rumour floated says, the original Agile Manifesto was drafted by all white males, Primavera Systems Inc., a vendor of enterprise project management software, busts the myth that agile processes will keep development jobs in the United States, by using the agile development process and outsourcing product development to the Indian operation of product engineering outsourcer Symphony Services Corp. Symphony that uses agile development techniques for eight software companies.
Along similar lines of the East West Great Divide, we have Michael Hugos writing for CIO magazine and website – a part of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading technology media, research and event firm, stating that his experience and observations have lead him to conclude, India is capable of being just as agile as America. A 30-Day Blitz in India and matching his Indian experience with that of IT teams in the United States, he found that on both continents agile concepts slowly took hold, while agility proved to be as much of a challenge for some team members, as it came more easily to others.
Thus, for the bleached half of the Great Divide to debate whether the relative newness of these ideas and cultural norms would make it harder for Indian developers to embrace these concepts is not only racist in nature, it shows that the West continues to suffer insufferably from a superiority complex, a lingering hangover from their colonial days. It’s just like saying ‘White guys can’t jump’ or in Michael Hugos own words: “What I see though, is that it’s unfair to say Indians can’t be agile just as it’s unfair to say that white guys can’t dance (being a white guy myself, I’m very sensitive to that particular generalization…).”
Hugo writes that across the Great Divide Agile behaviour transcends cultures, with people on both sides starting off with a ‘can-do’ attitude and a high level conceptual system design, followed by a deeper probe into production system creation details, negotiation attempts to cut scope, and much resisted by business people. This was followed by teams going off to put together the hardware and software components, and on testing saw the components actually worked as envisioned, their enthusiasm was once again fuelled, with renewed cooperation and exploration of options replacing earlier reluctance and bargaining, as the agile spirit manifested itself and they sprinted to the finishing line.
Ergo, not only is it politically incorrect but also down right ridiculous to question Indians or for that matter any ethnic community’s ability to be Agile. One cannot say traits exhibited in Agile teams are cultural traits, they are traits of an individual and there are people in both American and Indian culture, including other cultures who manifest these traits. And, for a country like India who is fast turning into a very entrepreneurial country, entrepreneurship means agility, and as history proves that Indians have exhibited more agile entrepreneurship than any other race or culture in their travels and setting down roots across the globe.
While, it is true that India is less experienced in Agile tactics and techniques, it does not mean they cannot and are not learning fast. Already, a number of firms, such as, Net Solutions and Xebia, employing Agile techniques with considerable success, recommend agile approaches to software development because they deliver value to organizations and end users faster and with higher quality. As for, Thoughtworks India, their projects are ‘pure Agile’. So much for generalisations about agility being the exclusive domain of any one culture! That’s like Hitler and his Nazi’s ludicrous claim that Aryans are a race of blond, blue-eyed giants. To bust that myth, I’m an Aryan of warm golden skin, brown eyes and black hair. That makes me feel like jigging to on Boney M’s song:
‘Brown Girl in the Ring!
Tra la la la la!There’s a brown girl in the ring!