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Agile Didn’t Eat Your Homework…

Published: June 09, 2017

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A bit of a vent here …

I’m tired of reading articles that blame Agile for [insert org dysfunction here]. I’ve heard it all. Agile is about short-term thinking. Agile creates bad design. Agile is micromanagement. Agile sends you into iteration hell. Agile inspires [some thing you don’t like].

And it is not because Agile is my gospel or pays my personal bills.

Yes, Agile has become a bit polluted by consultants, certifications, and the promise of “transformation”. Same with DevOps. Same with Sun Tzu. Same with the Stoics. Same with the Gospel. Same with any [insert idea here] that graces book covers, and gets bandied about boardrooms as a quick fix. Or gets joined with every part of the org chart to form new buzzwords … Agile [insert functional silo here]. This is inevitable. Good things get abused.

Agile is what it is … some interesting (and timely, and inspired) ideas that inspired a community, which inspired more ideas (repeating, until you get some really, really good ideas, and people who are passionate about sharing them). Those ideas — and that community — is “Agile”. And it is a prolific and interesting community. The word feels cargo-cultish and vapid, but the community is (largely) not. The image of an exec snorting “we need to be Agile!” is a little sickening, but so is the word “synergy”.

A good chunk of the software developing world has experienced Agile via crappily implemented Scrum. But that is not really the point. Agile != Scrum.

The point is … Google and Wikipedia is your friend. There are many, many traditions wrapped up in what we know as Agile. As individuals involved in product development, it is your responsibility to do your homework and know your history (hint, the history extends way before Snowbird, Utah). It pisses me off when the product or UX community rattles on about Agile, and then can’t describe its OWN tradition, or how their tradition translates into the current context.

So this isn’t about defending an overblown word (turned community, turned hashtag, turned invoice line-item). It is about thinking beyond the simplistic — we “do Agile”, we don’t get results, therefore it must be Agile — thinking. I’d say the same for any “way”, or hoping any “way” will solve all of your problems. Stop looking for the silver bullet for your org. Learn, roll your own, rinse, repeat.

Become a student and learn. Do your homework. And then write blog posts.

Most roads wont start and end with Agile. But most will pass through it.

1 Pw3v tlWk0OAB24UTA8dIQ 1 xoROYGSktfhqEsugkcGrgQ http://modernagile.org/ 1 dGEkFLR4rM6e7Icutv36dA 1 tdKPDC19m9nPTRowYWZUiQ http://www.brighthubpm.com/agile/45157-using-lean-thinking-in-agile-project-management/ 1 i UIobSyJPS2nOlXfdyVkw https://hbr.org/1986/01/the-new-new-product-development-game 1 eKg9VfjY6IW5d14FaUmn8A http://www.leanprimer.com/downloads/lean_primer.pdf 1 7 rkpCzmlNOMBBGbGle1Yw https://www.slideshare.net/TommyLiu3/design-thinking-history-methodology 1 2ZwmsgyPI3PKpvq3PcUgBg https://www.invisionapp.com/blog/5-years-lean-ux-jeff-gothelf/ 1 qTLS8YAjXZcPEip3x7K8 Q 1 0hqOaABQ7XGPT OYNgiUBg 1 Vgw1jkA6hgnvwzTsfMlnpg 1 gKBpq1ruUi0FVK2UM I4tQ

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