Agile is dead! Long live Agile!

process Aug 26, 2019

Can we get something straight?  The point of “Agile” is not dogmatic adherence to daily standup and two-week sprints.  Rather, it’s an attitude.  An attitude of being responsible to users’ changing needs and providing what’s needed when its needed.  Two-week sprints and daily stand-ups can support that but they don't intrinsically create it.

Perhaps instead of “Agile” they should have called it “Responsive” or “Reactive”.  Wait, where have I heard those words before?…

Everyone has jumped on the Agile bandwagon the past five or six years (well, not everyone), but in corporate and especially tech circles you’re scorned and shunned if you speak ill of the Agile god.  Which, come to think of it, is a whole lot like how people felt about Voldermort.

Far too often the intent of Agile (collaborative responsibility to the user’s needs built on frequent solicitation of their feedback) is turned into rituals which wind up a perversion of their original purpose.

Sprints?  Workloads and planning are up-ended with surprise “critical” demands from this or that executive.  Which, hey, emergencies sometimes happen, but when they happen frequently...

Standups?  Quick status reports are out the window in lieu of either grilling sessions or opportunities for individual devs to try and out-shine each other, or both.

Does any of this sound familiar?

And while I’m at it, isn’t it a bit ironic that a methodology called “Agile” is typically approached with a rigorous adherence to two-week sprints?  Which, you know, are not always appropriate.

Even physical workspaces are trying to be "agile".   "Open workspaces" are all they rage and *can* be very effective in fostering collaboration and creativity and *agility*, but they require an inviting aesthetic and room to "breathe" and, frankly, private spaces people can use when they need quiet and/or solitude.

I’m not against “Agile” and I’m not advocating for “Waterfall”, either (or for any methodology).  Rather, I'm advocating for stepping back from hype and trends and focusing on the combination of what your needs are, what an Agile approach can help with, and how specifically to map Agile methods to your particular needs.


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