Grumpy Old Man State Of Agile Address 2016

Episode 27 - 16 Mar 2016

It's "State of My Industry" month on LinkedIn, so I thought I'd weigh in with some personal, biased and (more than likely) misinformed views of the State of Agile in 2016.

Are you optimistic about the future of Agile? Or do you have concerns?

It's "State of My Industry" month on LinkedIn, so I thought I'd weigh in with some personal, biased and (more than likely) misinformed view of the state of Agile.

Late to the (Agile) party

I was a little bit late to the Agile party.

The first time I heard the word was in 2012 when I walked in to the offices of BBC Worldwide.

It was clear from the outset that these people we're "doing Agile". And they weren't doing it by halves:

  • Daily Stand-ups - daily at 10 am on the dot.
  • Sprint Planning - every second Monday. With Fibonacci cards, naturally.
  • Retrospectives - every second Friday. With Post-Its, guest presentations. Even a quiz.

I say late the party, because Agile had been around a while.

By the time I darkened the doors of the BBC, the Agile Manifesto had celebrated its 10th birthday. And DSDM was old enough to drive a car.

Opinionated Agile

it was the age of OPINIONATED agile.

My team at the BBC was doing Scrum. And it was doing it PROPERLY.

All the artefacts. All the rituals.

The team later split in two. One the teams moved over to Kanban. And did it... PROPERLY.

Hippie vibe

Adoption of Agile through the noughties had been slow and steady. But from 2009 it took off.

So I moved on from BBC Wolrdwide in 2014, it felt like EVERYONE was doing Agile.

Something else had changed. The Opinionated Age had passed.

Things had "loosened up". The entrenched positions of the previous age...

  • "Scrum is better than Kanban"
  • "Kanban is better than Scrum"

... gave way to something that had more of a hippie vibe:

Scrum is cool. Kanban is cool. Scrum is good for you. Kanban is good for me.

There was even some mix and match: a bit of Scrum here, a bit of Kanban here.

Anything goes.

The current State of Agile

Today, you'll struggle to find a software development team that doesn't "Do Agile".

I'm delighted at the QUANTITY of Agile.

But I have concerns about the QUALITY of Agile.

There's too much "superficial Agile".

  • Stand-ups that are just meetings-performed-in-a-standing-position.
  • Jira boards that are just giant to-do lists.

The problem with superficial agile is that ... it doesn't work very well.

People who are new to software development - or are moving into an agile team for the first time - are likely going to wonder what all the fuss is about.

That's if we're lucky.

If we're unlucky, they'll mistake bad practices for good practices and spread them from one organisation and take them to another.

What do YOU think?

I'm starting to sound more like a grumpy old man than usual...

... so I'm going to stop there and turn the discussion over to you.

What do think about the current state of Agile?

Have we sacrificed quality for quantity... or it is a case of the more the merrier?

Let me know in the comments here: