Over the past few weeks, we’ve been running a series of articles, polls and feedback reports on the subject of software development in general, and agile development in particular. A number of major themes have evolved, notably that agility is not some kind of panacea for all software ills - indeed, in many cases it is as much a …
That's what developers want.
A good PA can earn a lot, and PAs have real power in most companies, but they are more humble than a manager, and tend to support rather than egospaze.
So perhaps it is a bit of lippy rather than a power tie, as opposed to stirrups than shackles :)
Though, some may be up for a bit of kink.
The developer has to lead; they are the architect and system analysis in 90%+ IT projects. That's because, you have to able to code to architect or analyse. And you may as well code your design; coding is the best way to produce a prototype.
The secretary acts as the shield, and sorts out the day to day problems, client or inter departmental communication.
Basically, they fill in any weakness the developer may have, which is normally stopping unwanted interruptions and arranging vital communications for the project. They can also do things like ensure there is a spare keyboard, and there is enough of that 1/2cm squared paper around, etc etc. They should be numerate, and prepare the costings for the projects and pass them over to the developer for approval.
They can also be sent out to duff up admins, who stick the wrong config on a production server :)
Proof in Surveys
I've closely followed the recent "Agile" surveys here on The Register and I've come to the conclusion that surveying developers is a total waste of time. They complain about the same things that any subordinate complains about. No useful or marketable info there...
eWeek has a regular "Agile" contributor from IBM and he believes the same things that these surveys have show are intangible, unproven, unreliable or impractical. It all sounds weird and made up to me. In fact, these surveys have proven that "Agile" practices are all of the above.
Based on the results of these surveys I'd say the biggest issue is surveying how developers are managed. Not a single survey as you did before, but an ongoing series of surveys that really get to the heart of the matter. Get input from decision makers; then you might have some useful insights.
Developers are employees who are generally part of a larger organizational structure; their opinion is negligible and their contribution is easily replaced/replicated. Lets talk to management and see what they have to say.
Agile for the enterprise
Are there any resources or has any research been done on extending Agile principles beyond software development and into general IT and even operations/governance on an organizational level?
... for your input. We'll certainly keep your thoughts in mind as we publish the final report. You've hit on something we treat very seriously, which is that these reports are self-selecting and therefore, opinions are sometimes self-serving - the same will be true of managers as developers. What we haven't been able to do in the rather tight timescales is do any detailed comparisons, which we shall be looking into in our future analyses.
And thanks everyone else, anonymous or otherwise!
P.S. Patrick, not that I know of - but its a good idea.