As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Agile Manifesto, I have become more interested in pieces that talk about the state of Agile in today’s environment.  I am a historian by training and firmly believe in the adage that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Product Managers can benefit from monitoring the evolution of thinking in regards to Agile.  Below are links to a few articles I have clipped in the past few months as well as some posts by me.

Dear Agile, I’m Tired of Pretending

Charles Lambdin recently published a piece on Medium titled “Dear Agile, I’m Tired of Pretending”.  In the post Charles talks about his frustrations with the state of Agile evolution practice.  Some notable lines include:

  • “Agile is dead.” People keep saying that. But then they say, “We’re just kidding.” They tell you they meant the way you do Agile is dead. And stupid. But “real” Agile isn’t dead. It’s just that everyone does Agile wrong. So I guess real Agile is, you know, Agile in theory. Even I have done this. And you know what? I’m sick of doing it.
  • Here’s a quiz for you. How does the first line of the Agile Manifesto begin? No peaking. Don’t know? That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. It says, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software….” Stop. Notice it says, “developing software.” It does not say, “leaning out your org,” “paying down transformation debt,” “cutting it out with this command-and-control crap,” “focusing on outcomes and getting better at discovery work,” “fixing your medieval budgeting system,” or any of the other far more value-adding things people have tried to glom onto it. But the thing is, when people say that Agile pertains to the whole org, it’s revisionist history. It’s dishonest.

Do the Agile Principles Hold Up?

Not surprisingly Charles’ post generated a ton of negative and positive feedback.  He created a follow up post that further explained his thinking.

“The last post generated a lot of feedback. Most was positive. Some was negative. This led to some interesting exchanges online that raise an important question: What exactly is “Agile?” Apparently, it’s simple. I was told, more than once this past week, that Agile is just a set of principles, and anything that aligns with the principles is Agile.

So, stated another way: Anything not at odds with the Agile principles can be claimed as being Agile?”

The biggest myth of agile development — faster, cheaper and better outcome

Steven Koh published a great piece on Medium that can be best summarized by the following Dilbert strips:

Dilbert Agile
Dilbert Agile

Agile Failure Patterns 2.0

Stefan Wolpers did a great webinar series.  This post of his covers the 12 drivers behind what he considers to be the twelve drivers of Agile in today’s world.  Here’s the webinar:

By John Mecke

John is a 25 year veteran of the enterprise technology market. He has led six global product management organizations for three public companies and three private equity-backed firms. He played a key role in delivering a $115 million dividend for his private equity backers – a 2.8x return in less than three years. He has led five acquisitions for a total consideration of over $175 million. He has led eight divestitures for a total consideration of $24.5 million in cash. John regularly blogs about product management and mergers/acquisitions.