Will Agile be trashed?

Paul Takken

treeAgile is hot. Almost every Fortune 500 company is “Doing the Agile Thing”. But with the success also the critics are growing rapidly. The post “Agile is Dead” from Matthew Kern was extremely popular. Many of his arguments are dead right. For example, Agile has become a brand name and a hype and the original Agile Manifesto has lost most of his power and purpose by bad interpretations of it.  But there is a lot more to add to this discussion which is often based on misinterpretations what Agile actually means.

I’ve never interpreted Agile as a methodology or a framework. It’s a universal mindset and process for me. This is how Nature successfully “manages” evolution already for billions of years.  That's the reason why I don’t believe Agile will extinct somewhere in the future.

However, most Agile methodologies and frameworks will probably die when they’ve done their job.  Therefore, experimenting with parts of new emerging Agile building blocks is key here.  Additionally, you should keep these biomimicry principles in mind:

  • Innovation engages in lots of experimentation: life creates success models through making mistakes, survival of the fittest.
  • Continuously improve by feedback loops. Use only the energy you need. Work smart and effective.
  • Fit form to function. Function is primary important to esthetics.
  • Recycle: Resources are limited, (re)use them smart.
  • Encourage cooperation.
  • Aim for diversity.
  • Demand local expertise, to be aware of the need of local differences.
  • Create a safe environment to experiment.
  • Outperform frequently to gain endurance and to stay fit.
  • Reduce complexity by minimizing the number of materials and tools. For example, 96% of life on this planet is made up of six types of atoms: Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sulphur.

There is no silver Agile bullet fixing all your problems. Agile is a mindset supported by all kinds of tools, frameworks and methodologies. The current popularity is also attracting a whole bunch of gold diggers surfing on the Agile waves. Don't be fooled here. Build your own independent strategy in growing and improving your Agility or Responsiveness. Two different words, same meaning, different branding...

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