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You're Not as Agile as You Think

Dec 11, 2013

“We use an Agile development process.” 

It’s always said the same way — in a haughty tone that implies the superiority of how the speaker’s organization approaches software development. And from the CEO on down, everyone figures “Agile development” means “nimble and innovative,” just like a startup. 

This delusional self-satisfaction makes me ill.

First off, you’re not special. Everyone uses “Agile” development today. Seriously. Find me a company (other than some anachronistic hipster startup) that brags about its “Waterfall” development process. But Agile’s like college sex: Everyone talks about it but rarely does it right. Even though the original Agile Manifesto was written almost 13 years ago, it seems to me less known and understood today than it ever has been. Instead, we’ve created lots of structures and conventions around Agile that don’t seem to be ­getting us where we want to be. What’s Agile about every sprint being two weeks long? Can you have a one-process-fits-all approach and still be Agile? Is planning really the ­antithesis of Agile?

Nothing, no, and no. Here’s why. (S7630113)


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