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  • Writer's pictureV. Lee Henson CST

When Agile Becomes a Jerk!

Today we dive into an article titled “When Agile Becomes A Jerk” by Chris Comb. While the title may bring a chuckle, let’s explore the valuable insights within and discuss how Agile can be more humanized and pragmatic. AgileDad offers a refreshing approach to doing things, aligning with the belief that Agile should encompass the essence of humanity. So, let’s delve into the discussion and see where it takes us.


The Humanity Factor in Agile

During a book club meeting centered around Jim Benson’s “Collaboration Equation,” someone emphasized the significance of humane working practices and professionalism. It’s true; Lean and Agile often overlook the human element. AgileDad acknowledges this gap, recognizing the need for a pragmatic and humanized approach. Agile should encompass more than just processes and tools; it should value individuals and interactions above all else.

Uncovering Better Ways of Working

The Agile manifesto highlights the goal of uncovering better ways of developing software. However, the comparison of Agile to Waterfall often oversimplifies the message. Agile is not merely a superior alternative to Waterfall; it’s about learning, adapting, and continuously improving how we work. The manifesto intentionally avoids specific practices, focusing on timeless values and principles. Unfortunately, this void has created an opportunity for different interpretations, leading to various certifications and products.

Quality Matters in Agile Training

Agile certification courses vary in quality and content. It is crucial to choose carefully and ensure that the course aligns with your needs and expectations. Attending a two-day certification course and obtaining a certificate doesn’t automatically make one an expert. Sometimes, individuals who haven’t pursued certification possess extensive knowledge, while others may attend courses but still lack clarity. Agile learning is a continuous process, and it’s essential to value knowledge and experience over mere certifications.

The Complexity of Agile

Agile is not a binary concept; it thrives in the gray areas of complexity. Over-simplifying Agile as a rigid framework misses the mark. Life, people, and work environments are multifaceted and diverse. Instead of classifying something as strictly Agile or not, it’s more valuable to engage in meaningful discussions, understanding different perspectives, and learning from one another. Embracing complexity is key to unlocking the true potential of Agile.


Beyond Agile Buzzwords

Agile practitioners should avoid becoming the “Agile police” who correct others’ terminology and buzzwords. Focusing on terminology instead of working collaboratively misses the larger point of Agile: creating effective ways of working together. Transformation journeys involve more than adopting new terms; they require careful inspection, adaptation, and a deeper understanding of contextual needs. Let’s move away from buzzwords and prioritize empathetic communication, psychological safety, empowerment, and learning from failures.

The Path to Success

Success in Agile implementation lies in building trust, fostering team empowerment, and practicing clear and context-sensitive communication. It’s about solving problems together and creating an environment that encourages open and honest dialogue. Organizations should resist imposing new processes solely for the sake of correction. Instead, they should focus on team building, trust, and implementing radical candor. These elements will foster the right conversations and lead to successful Agile implementations.

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