Agile isn't dead (yet), but it has become meaningless to some degree

Agile isn't dead (yet), but it has become meaningless to some degree

"Wow, that's quite the assertion there, Ryan," one might say. But tell me it isn't true. Sure, Agile as a practiced methodology is still around, but it's not used as a project management practice as much as it should. Instead, it's become a buzzword to ensure business leadership remains relevant in today's business world.

Sure, we're still talking about it at length across any project. However, as Erin Davies, an agile consultant at the 1ovmany consultancy, we're still talking about it because after 22 years of use, "...nobody understands it." That is, it "look[s] conceptually very easy on paper and it makes sense, but for reasons nobody can understand, we manage to make it look very difficult in the workplace."

As an Agile practitioner, I can tell you that she's absolutely correct. Even when I walk into a new project with all my notes and a textbook overview of what we're going to do and how to do it, nobody understands it- especially those who call themselves an Agile organization. The truth is, nobody but you, the project manager, cares about what's called Agile. Sorry πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ.

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What actually got me thinking about this was this post, So Tired of Fake Agile, on Reddit. In short, Agile isn't dead, but it's not being used correctly. Read on...

The team's goal is to get the work done, and the leadership's goal is to show that the team is getting the work done. As the middleman (woman, person, etc.), your job is to keep the team moving and share the data with said leadership. That it. Nobody cares how we do it so long as it's getting done. Suppose that means using words like Agile, Scrum, or Hybrid, great. But nobody by you (and your fellow PMs) cares.

It's no secret that any company with a command-control management style focused on processes over individuals can conflict with agile values. This is where pure agile becomes challenging to achieve at scale. Maybe we should stop using Agile outside its intended use case (software development) and instead move forward using Hybrid. And for those companies trying to remain relevant by calling themselves agile, stop. You might be flexible, but calling yourself agile has just added to its oversimplification and demise.

Do you want to dig deeper into this issue? Might I suggest reading this great article on this exact subject? And does this mean I'll stop using Agile... ah, no.


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