Agile & Religion – 1

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I heard recently someone comment: "Well, watch out for those guys who get too religious about Agile. We don't want that around here."

This general topic gets talked about in the Agile community a lot. And, I think, often ineffectively.

But I think it is a difficult topic. It is hard to explain the issues around this well.

So, I will try to do several posts with specific examples and situations.

The first thing to say is that lean-agile-scrum is mainly about results. Results for the individual, the team, and the customers. Results such as: better products, higher quality, more fun, better work.

It is not about doing Scrum just for the sake of doing it. As though purity of Scrum, alone, were a high value.

It is important to say that virtually all the people who are experienced with lean-agile-scrum are concerned that they see too many people doing it "weakly". Schwaber talks about 'flaccid Scrum'. The XP guys talk about how Scrummers don't have strong engineering practices. Others talk about ScrumBut (or ScrumButt). And there are other phrases.

What is important is that they have a sense that playing Scrum 'weakly' means that the people are getting FAR less of the value than they deserve.

In summary for now: lean-agile-scrum is not about religion or belief or faith. It is about reality and testing and real results. That seems to me to be pretty far from 'religion' as most people use that word (when they use it as a put-down).

The next thing to say is: when a Scrum advocate talks about doing Scrum better, we should talk more about WHY 'better Scrum' means a better life or better results. More on this in the next post.

3 Responses to “Agile & Religion – 1”

  1. DTinsley says:

    I feel that in an effort to start Agile slowly at organizations we are giving people a watered down version of Agile. The disciplined practices never develop fully. I have been in situations where a few team members wanted to start using scrum but the organization as a whole didn’t know what scrum was. They are not wanting and they are not asking for it. The agile advocates can seem like zealots to those without knowledge or experience with agile. I have struggled with this type of situation a couple of times. They only answer I could find is to work on making my self as agile as I can within the current working environment but accept that the organization is not asking or wanting Agile. Finish the project and look for a agile environment to work in. Watered down agile makes no one happy. Management can’t see the fruit produced because things never get past baby steps and the developer never get the benefits of working on a scrum project. I am glad you posted this article. It has helped me make a decision. Trying to plant seeds of Agile in hard rocky ground is not the best use of resources.

  2. Alex B says:

    I think is quite a challenge to adopt agile in large companies with multiple development streams as agility involves collaboration and change, and the biggest challenge I see is not adopting and practicing scrum at team level but being agile at a larger scale; teams and development synchronization, development and infrastructure synchronization most of the time struggle to function.

  3. Alex B says:

    … and further on I believe religion is a word that should not enter in technology as in the situation it traditionally got used lead us through inquisition and mass brainwash :)

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