long live agile. is agile dead?

Pick your favorite agile luminary. Chances are, this year they’ve been saying they’re done with agile. No more, after this year.

I’m not positive my list is precisely correct, but I’m thinking I’ve heard this from Rachel Davies, Brian Marick, Michael GeePaw Hill, Andy Hunt, and I’m sure more folks (though I hesitate to name names, in case I’m wrong).

At RubyMidwest, I asked Andy Hunt about this. I’m sure I wasn’t at all articulate, but what I wanted to ask was this:

“I get that agile has become mechanical, and that’s a bummer. But as someone who fell in love with agile pretty recently, I don’t want to lose the… agility? The emergent design stuff, the inspecting and adapting. When I hear y’all saying you’re done with agile, I wonder what comes next? What do you envison is the alternative?”

And even though I’ve gone round and round with GeePaw about this, I think Andy is the one who finally convinced me. You know what he said? He said that

agile was a solution to a problem. And that agile worked to solve a bunch of them. Whatever replaces agile, he told us, will be the thing that solves the problems we have now.

Holy crap. That was convincing.

It also meant I can actually love all the empirical, emergent, collaborative stuff agile brought us, while I head off into the future.

WOW

What do you think? Is agile dead? Do we keep preaching it, coaching it, putting on conferences about it? What do you think the next decade looks like?

5 thoughts on “long live agile. is agile dead?

  1. agile

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  2. J. B. Rainsberger

    What does “Agile is dead” even mean? The closest I can see is “the brand ‘Agile’ has become so tarnished that I don’t want to sell my services that way anymore”. So what? Do we need the word to sell what we do? Really?

    The ideas, approaches, mindset and philosophy has been alive for decades and will live for decades. Call it whatever makes your clients keep giving you enough money.

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  3. kevin callahan

    Agile as a rote solution to the long-term problems that occur when groups of human beings come together to do something. We cannot fix a problem with a process. I just listened to your Ruby Rogues podcast and it’s along the lines, I believe, of your assertion that simply adopting the language of Non-Violent Communication does not bring non-violence. The person has to care. Has to actually give a shit about his impact in the world, and on the people she interacts with.

    Agile is the same way. It starts with caring enough that we want to improve, that we get a taste of something so incredible that we are compelled, driven to improve. Otherwise we just switch out the chains of waterfall, or whatever thing we blame our pain on, for a set of tools that will also weight us down if we don’t grow into them.

    The difference is that the weight of agile’s tools can be leveraged, we can build towers to the sky, or tear apart that which binds us, to smooth the path before us.

    Is agile dead? No. It is absolutely alive. Though only if we have the guts to make it real.

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