Cory Foy made an interesting comment today on the XP mailing list. I’ll quote the part which I found interesting:
” My theory is that while we supposedly “Crossed the Chasm” from Early Adopters to Early Majority in the Agile world (referencing emails from about a year ago), we are now trying to cross a second chasm – that between Early Majority and Late Majority.”
While I respect Cory immensely, my experience with moderating and hosting XPSD suggests we have a long way to go as a community before we approach the Late Majority. The demographic that comes to XPSD are in their mid-30’s to mid-40’s (of course, we have younger and older present) who generally work in small teams or at small companies. We mostly have technical people come to our meetings each month with the majority of folks being people who write code for a living.
If we were approaching the Late Majority, then I would expect to be seeing the crowd at XPSD getting a little grayer (we all are getting a little grayer these days, but that is beside the point) and coming from the more conservative organizations and companies – defense contractors, the big biotechs and financial companies. I would also expect to be seeing more of the manager types and supplementary roles associated with software development – the testers, SCM and tech writers. I’d also expect to see a spike, or an increasing trend, in the number of people signing up on our mailing list.
While I wish it were true all these things were happening, I am not seeing it in San Diego. I think as a community, we are still just beginning to penetrate the Early Majority.
[Update – Aug 13] Seems like I am not the only one who questions Cory’s (and Scott Ambler’s) assertions that Agile has crossed into the Late Majority – Dave Nicolete is skeptical as well (here and here). I agree with his choice of words that Agile is still seen as an “experimental” or “alternative” way to develop software.