Are Agile and Scrum Useless?


I’ve at all times mentioned I finally needed Scrum and agile to go away. From what I’ve learn recently, possibly we’re there.

I don’t assume every week passes with out some article referred to as “Agile Is Useless.” or “Is Scrum Useless?” showing in my browser or electronic mail. Does that imply that we’re in a post-agile period? Is agile lifeless?

Agile for the Win

Inside a number of years of the Agile Manifesto being written, I started to say I needed agile to go away. I didn’t imply I needed us to cease utilizing Scrum and different agile frameworks. Reasonably, I anticipated an agile approach of working to win.

I needed an agile approach of working to change into a lot the accepted strategy to product improvement, or to teamwork on the whole, that we might cease speaking about it.

As an alternative of claiming “agile venture administration,” for instance, I might simply say “venture administration” and the idea could be that, in fact, that meant that the groups could be utilizing an agile strategy.

To some extent, we’re there.

Agile Has Turn into Commonplace Apply

The agile strategy to work has caused many adjustments over time—a lot in order that what was as soon as a revolutionary mind-set has now simply change into normal working process for many groups. Listed below are just some examples:

Cross-functional groups: When Scrum emerged as the unique agile framework within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, cross-functional improvement groups weren’t frequent. They’re now.

Iterative and incremental improvement: The shift to iterative, incremental improvement began within the mid-to-late Eighties with Barry Boehm’s spiral mannequin and Tom Gilb’s evolutionary supply. (Do you know I named Mountain Goat Software program after a sentence in Tom Gilb’s e book?) That shift accelerated dramatically after the Manifesto in 2001. Previous to that, most software program improvement was completed in phases—usually an evaluation part adopted by design, coding, and testing phases. Now, most improvement is completed incrementally and iteratively.

Light-weight design: Heavy obligation, pixel-perfect prototypes had been frequent again then as a result of excessive value of iterating over a design. Whereas prototypes are nonetheless used right this moment, a number of fast prototypes are actually frequent to assist product homeowners and managers select between choices.

Constructed-in high quality: Earlier than the arrival of agile, organizations thought they might add high quality to a product by testing high quality in on the finish. Agile has helped us see that isn’t true.

So I ask you, how can individuals say “agile is a waste of time?” Or “agile would not work and by no means did” when these agile practices have change into our default approach of working?

What Is Changing Agile, If It is Useless?

Latest articles and podcasts saying agile is lifeless will not be saying we have to reverse the enhancements agile initiated or accelerated.

I haven’t learn something advocating a return to waterfall improvement or, extra precisely, the advert hoc improvement practices that had been extra frequent earlier than agile. I am additionally not studying something that means that one thing new or higher is changing agile.

As an alternative, the “agile is lifeless” articles extra carefully mimic my long-held view that we are going to finally cease speaking about agile groups, agile improvement, agile frameworks and extra. We’ll simply speak about groups, improvement, and frameworks, and we’ll assume they’re, in fact, agile.

Are Agile and Scrum Useless or Ho-Hum?

So are agile and scrum lifeless? I don’t assume so.

I do sense that we is likely to be experiencing some agile and Scrum fatigue. It is analogous to what occurs within the music business. Followers who love an artist’s first few albums typically bitter on that artist once they’re found by the plenty. The artist is not the hip, new factor and lots of early followers transfer on due to that.

In an analogous approach, possibly Scrum and agile have change into so mainstream that they’re not new sufficient to please the early adopters. 

On the identical time, there’s nonetheless loads of work forward earlier than we will declare that agile has gained. It’s why Mountain Goat Software program is focusing extra consideration towards constructing a typical understanding of agile and Scrum with whole-team coaching, resembling Engaged on a Scrum Crew.

I can be comfortable when agile wins, after we can drop it as an adjective in entrance of so many phrases. Till then I’ll stay devoted to serving to groups succeed whether or not we name it agile or not.