I bet I grabbed your attention with that title. Before you proceed on, please be warned that this post is definitely more of a rant. But, if you can’t occasionally rant on your own blog, then what’s it good for anyhow?
To those that say “Agile just doesn’t work for us”, I say bullshit! For some reason, some people think their company / organization / product is so different from the rest of the world that a process like Agile will not work for them. When it comes to work, we are all more alike than different. Those same people tend to look for every opportunity to blame any issue on Agile. The team didn’t get a user story done … “Agile just doesn’t work for us”. A stakeholder made a late change … “Agile just doesn’t work for us”. I can’t make it to the stand-up on time … “Agile just doesn’t work for us”. We had a bad retrospective … “Agile just doesn’t work for us”. We deployed a bug to production … “Agile just doesn’t work for us”. It rained today … “Agile just isn’t working for us”. You get the point, I’m sure.
Now, don’t get me wrong … I totally get statements like “This isn’t Agile” or “We aren’t being Agile”; that, I can deal with. Just don’t make rash statements that insinuate that the process is to blame for what is a problem that would / may exist regardless of Agile. In other words, don’t hate the process, hate the weaknesses in ourselves that the process exacerbates … whatever it may be, lack of discipline, poor collaboration, no accountability, bad leadership, etc.
Dig deeper beyond the rash statement and you will find that often it is not the process that doesn’t work for us, but rather we don’t work for the process. When I hear “Agile just doesn’t work for us”, I like to probe further with questions like …
- What specifically do you think is not working about Agile?
- What have you done to try to solve the problem?
- Would this / did this / could this problem exist under any other process?
So, to all those that are quick to say “Agile just doesn’t work for us”, don’t be a hater. Look within your own locus of control (never thought I’d have the opportunity to use that phrase beyond college) before you jump to judgement about a process that has worked successfully for many diverse companies all over the world for many years.