The Agile End Game & the Agile Fallacy

March 28, 2018 - by Marshall Guillory

Agile is itself a fallacy

“We are ‘Agile’ because we were delivering ‘working software’ every two weeks”

But did we build the right thing? Do the right thing? Was it valuable?

Oops, we forgot to read the details… the values AND the principles are important. Is it a good thing they clarified the value in the #1 principle on the second page?

What about culture? Not so simple as four plus twelve equals Agile?

An organizations culture can adopt a stance of only delivering working software. They can even comply with “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.” But at what cost to the people who sell, design, build, and deliver the software?

What is it about the manifesto for agile software development that drives the culture to adopt the other eleven principles (from the example above)? Do organizations adopt them in a binary way? If not, what problems does this introduce? Read: many, many, many times many.

Scrum fails at this value system concept so much that it is almost always paired with “Agile.” What does Scrum do for technical practices? Nothing by design they claim. It is a framework for managing a process. So XP is tacked on too. Scrum and Agile are inadequate at scale, so the scaling frameworks came about. Where does this Agile End Game, well, where and when does it END?

Agile has already ended its game

Like a bad punchline, it is done. It has already been superseded by bigger and better value systems. That’s why people keep coming up with new, innovative ways of thinking and ways of working. It isn’t that Agile is bad. Or Scrum. They have served their purposes in the (r)evolution of ways of working (WoW) and ways of thinking (WoT)[WoWWoT].

The problem is that people, and organizations, come in all shapes and sizes. Agile is never enough. Nor is Scrum. Or any scaling framework. Is the culture of an organization always moving towards complying with the value system and principles or is the opposite true? How do we continue to corral these onerous cultures? With more and more innovative ways of thinking and ways of working.

So, yes, the opposite is true. People and organizations naturally move away from that which they are not comfortable with. If people are more comfortable with unified command & centralized control, reductionist thinking, or other regressive behaviors, that is what they will lean on.

Until they don’t. How people and cultures get there is not by buying a subscription to the  “Agile Manifesto Newsletter.” Or by simply using an empirical process framework.

What is the one constant through all of the experimentation in value systems, principles, frameworks, pyramid schemes, and certification mills since you could deposit a quarter for your MCSE?

People. Amazing Change Agents. Strategic & Tactical Disruptors. Servant Leaders.

Culture Hacking Miracle workers.

The culture is always moving away from the idealized value system, frameworks, methods, processes, and tools. This is why organizations need passionate, great change agents. Don’t believe me? Evidence abounds in this world.

If you are looking for the best culture hacking miracle workers, call on us. We are ready.


Published by Marshall Guillory -

Information Technology professional, transformation leader, agile evangelist & coach, change agent, scrum master, servant leader and more...

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