January 28, 2016 4 Comments
“Agile” as A Meme
Since the introduction of Agile Development in the early 2000s it has increasingly spread throughout the software industry in the same manner a popular cult is formed; based on supposition, mythology, and rumor for which little real statistical proof has ever been provided.
A more accurate description of the growing popularity of this development paradigm is that of a sociological “meme”. Wikipedia defines the word “meme” using basically the same definition as found in the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a standard in English studies, as the following…
“A meme is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.”
The Wikipedia description goes on to elaborate on the transfer of memes in the same way that is found in biological evolution.
“Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.”
In other words, memes are transferred in a culture the same way that natural selection works in biology; except for the fact that with memes, which are transfers of information, they become successful not as a result of intelligent research and understanding by the Human transfer points but in somewhat the same manner that fads are often found to grow in popularity, through simple popularity of an accepted strain of thought.