Monday, 5 March 2012

agile schmagile

Am I the only one bored of 'agile'? It doesn't seem like it.  As far as I can see it's causing confusion and still has bureaucracy issues and can be a right pain in the behind.
There seems to be a number of issues , here are some I’ve picked up on.
1. agile as intent is great* but agile is not defined, there is no one concept, people have their own understanding and this can cause problems because people are trying to achieve different things
* So when I write that 'agile as intent is great' that's my understanding of agile, which probably differs to yours
2. People have pre-conceptions and stick to them
3. People have a cookie cutter approach
4. People try change without help.  It's extremely difficult for a group of people to change their ways, especially if they don't see why things need to change
5. People don't see the bigger picture, 'what am I doing is fine (at least I think it is) so I'm going to keep doing it this way, it's not my problem if there are issues with the team/project/organisation'.  People also try keep a hold of their corner
6. agile is not a silver bullet, agile will cause confusion and uncertainty, all change will and does
 7. There is a huge psychological factor to changing to agile, in all kinds of areas, trust, egos, a change of thinking, etc.  This needs to be taken into consideration. The change in thinking required to 'be agile' will not be for everyone
8. agile and/or change can take time, most people don't like change and uncertainty, people won't 'get it' at first and it can causes scepticism, stubbornness and resistance
9. agile is not about productivity, it's about improvement, productivity will happen by default when you improve
10. Scrum is not agile, it's a project management methodology
11. For most of the organisations that have success with agile it's been hard and took years to get there, realise this
13. There is no one way to 'be agile' it requires trial and error, things will go wrong, mistakes will be made, things will also go right and great improvements will be made
You need to realise this and be able to deal with both scenarios
14. Learn from what others have done and consider that it might not be quite right for you. IE 'that's not a user story, there is no xyx'.  Who cares? Does it work for you? Yes? Great, keeping doing it. No? Tweak it until it does.   If it doesn’t work, ditch it. By the book doesn't always work
15. People hold back because of uncertainty, fear and worry


  1. Are you bored of agile ? or bored of people having misconceptions about it, doing it wrong and consultants selling snake oil ?

  2. I also would prefer if we could dump all the labels and get on with improving our software development. I like Jerry Weinberg's approach of identifying your biggest problem, and trying an experiment to make it 20% better, then if that works, move on to the next small experiment/improvement.

    However, there IS an excellent and true definition of whether a team is "agile", from Elisabeth Hendrickson:

  3. You could try from the other angle, find what is working well and replicate it and continue finding the 'bright spots' and replicating.

  4. Have you adopted different techniques to try & overcome some of these issues?

    How did you get on?

    Any war stories to tell?