Don’t Blame “Agile” for Existing Problems

Don’t Blame “Agile” for Existing Problems

Don’t Blame “Agile” for Existing Problems
via Blog by Matthijs de Booij

Why is it that when the going gets tough, “agile” gets the blame? There is so much online bashing of [insert random agile framework or method] going on, that it made me wonder if there is a pattern behind it. I believe there is.

Where did “agile” start?

Agile is nothing new. The Agile Manifesto was drafted in 2001, distilled from new ways of working that were being practiced from the beginning of the 1990s. The wisdom that is captured by the Agile Manifesto was nothing new either. A lot of the contents can be traced back to the great thinkers throughout the previous century, to whom I have paid tribute in this blog post. This is a painful observation by itself. For decades we know how we can develop organizations in a smarter and more effective way to deliver value, but captains of industry have failed to pivot. Only a handful was committed to embracing these beliefs back then, and 17 of them came together in 2001 and drafted the Agile Manifesto. So in that context, I see the Agile Manifesto as an important reminder of common sense we often neglect in practice.

Why is it so difficult?

It is tough to apply these values and principles when we have to “run” an organization in the real world. Some might think it is enough to adopt a random agile way of work or practice. But you will only mature in an environment where you feel invited to experiment with new ways of working. The following aspects (and there are more) contribute to such an environment:

  • Feeling trusted
  • Able to be open to each other
  • Being treated in a respectful manner

Why would any human being try something new when one or more of these ingredients are missing? Exactly, when their very existence or identity is in jeopardy. And this can be extrapolated to organizations.

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