Post-Agile?

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“Most people doing Agile today are actually doing Waterfall with Agile terms. Agile is dead.”

There are a lot of people talking about “post-agile” now that the word Agile has been taken up by the masses, including those selling products and services with the word without ever doing what some might consider to be truly Agile.

What did you expect?

It’s not been so many years since the mailing lists were abuzz with people suggesting Agile to anyone who would listen, and many who would not. Why the shift from pushing Agile to walking away from it? Did you think people would “see the light” and be suddenly changed?

Let’s face it, working in an Agile fashion is hard. It requires paying attention to what you’re doing and the results of that. It requires thinking and making choices. It requires honoring the thoughts and feelings of those around you. None of this is easy stuff. It doesn’t just fall into place because you’ve decided to “do Agile.”

It doesn’t “just happen” even when you’ve been working in an Agile fashion for a decade. Every day is another day of practice. I still make mistakes. I expect that; I just strive to notice and correct them earlier.

I’m often helping large organizations, or parts of large organization, move to a more Agile process. The process of making that shift is more complicated than the process of Agile, itself. When you have dozens of people affected, each one reacts differently and in a different time scale. When you have hundreds, the same is still true. Large ships turn slowly. Large organizations even more so, as they are not “one thing” to be turned.

Often the successful transformations of large organizations do not look Agile to those who work in small ones. There are many aspects that may be compromised or suboptimal in comparison to what a small organization can achieve. Yet large organizations can learn to deliver working software more reliably and more frequently, or at least determine when they can’t, much sooner. And the working lives of those involved can be much more engaging and rewarding.

Those who are abandoning Agile because “the wrong people” have gotten involved and it hasn’t transformed the world of work into the place envisioned in your dreams, what did you expect? When has anything been a broad and unalloyed success?

Take another look at the successes, at the progress that has been made, and rejoice in that. Do not be discouraged that the struggle to succeed will never cease.

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