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This chapter is from the book

An “Agile” Experiment

Here is an experiment I would like everyone to try.

For one full week, whenever you see or hear the word “Agile” (or “agile”) in a sentence about project management, software, development, etc., substitute “Agile” with the following phrases:

  • ... thinking for yourself ...

  • ... talking to people ...

  • ... producing things that people want ...

  • ... looking at what’s possible ...

  • ... being less of a jerk ...

  • ... solving problems with the simplest solution ...

  • ... delighting customers ...

  • ... being a whistleblower ...

  • ... taking responsibility and initiative like an entrepreneur ...

What’s the point of this experiment?

I am seeing and hearing more and more about “Hybrid Agile,” “MANAGED Agile Development,” “Scaled Agile,” etc., which leads me to believe that most people aren’t getting what “Agile” really means, or rather, the spirit of what the word represents.

Perhaps the Agile Manifesto has become too much of a mantra? We all can recite the values. I have found that many who claim to “know Agile” haven’t seen the 12 Principles Behind the Manifesto or have forgotten about them, etc. However, those also provide more of a clue as to what Agile means.

In the phrases I listed, I have tried to avoid using too many of the buzzwords, which are becoming meaningless and diluted—for example, collaboration, value, innovation, empowerment, etc. These are often tossed around without much thought of what they mean or what the implications are. People just want the benefits and R without the I.

Did some of these shock you a little bit?

Hopefully.

There IS a bit of humor intended there, but also some reality.

I am not implying that Agile means “hippie love fest,” but it certainly means getting along better with the people you work with and the customers you serve.

Anyone who works serves a customer. You could even view your relationship with your employer as serving your customer.

As you try out this experiment and find that these phrases don’t fit with something that is labeled “Agile,” it’s probably a good sign that it isn’t ...

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