I can’t even remember how long ago it was that Jake Calabrese told me about a potential client asking if he could “install agile”. I do remember laughing and thinking “who would ask that”. Then 2020 hit and I got a similar question… “how long does it take to install agile as we want to get it done this year while everyone is home?”
First, I did not laugh right there at the moment. However, I will admit that I did feel a surge of guilt that I was going to make their year even worse. Second, I wondered how long will the misunderstanding continue to last.
I don’t tend to get into the debates/discussions about will agile last or what’s next AFTER agile. Personally, I find that counter to what agile is about, continuous learning to discover value. I get mostly terrified that the next growth won’t happen because of these assumptions. So let me rant for a bit:
- As much as I enjoy a good checkmark feeling, agile is not an area for that. There is no end spot. I know, that’s scary for leaders but you know what is scarier? Not investing in your culture/environment. You will always pay for that.
- I don’t care if you “do” a ton of agile practices (daily scrum, retrospectives, planning poker, etc). I care if they are bringing the team together to discover value. Implementing by simply going through the motions deserves every single “agile* should die” article.
- I put an * in the previous point because calling something and/or anything agile, doesn’t make it agile. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people will tell me “x” sucks, only to learn they are not actually doing “x”. For example, a retrospective that says “doing well, communication; need to improve, communication”. Cute but no dice.
- I’m always amazed by leaders that fully logically understand that to make improvements, you must invest. However, for some reason, this is applied to new products, even to individuals but rarely to the culture/environment.
- If you really need to think of this as an installation, ok. Then here’s my challenge, install transparency, experimentation, empathy, and engagement.
What are your pet peeves about “installing agile”?