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Is Agile facing obstacles it did not create?

My week was going well until I was confronted by a colleague at the office questioning the very purpose of a presentation I had just finished making to a large audience. Having attended an Agile Coffee talk event at Bangalore the previous weekend, I was excited to have met professionals sharing their experiences and further exploring together the benefits and challenges of Agile. I was due to present an Agile talk at my office the very same week, which I did and came out feeling content. And all of a sudden there I was facing a question from a colleague immediately after the presentation – “Why this presentation? We are now hearing that Agile is dead”. I did go a bit defensive for a very short moment and shook my head in denial, but decided to give this very question a thorough look for the rest of the week. A quick search on Google revealed that the same question was being debated and discussed in various forums with experts putting forth their point of views.

Here is my take on it. Yes, even though Agile has been around for long time now, we have seen organizations struggling to adopt it. We have heard concerns around benefits/scaling/doesn’t work etc. We have seen organizations DOING Agile but NOT-BEING agile. Most organizations got lost in all kinds of models/frameworks and accepted practices, but the logic was often forgotten. While the ideal way forward would have been to allow “Practice” unfold the “Theory”, we ended up actually limiting ourselves by Adopting frameworks and methodologies.

Experience has shown us that “pure” Agile does not suffice. Everyone has hammered-it-to-fit and Hybrid approaches have become the norm. The word Agile has come to be somewhat meaningless or probably we lost control of the term “Agile”. It has always been open to interpretation by everyone. Agile needed to alter the Mindset, Skillset and Toolset to be successful, but ironically the Mindset itself is playing the biggest spoilsport.

But just because the word “Agile” may have become meaningless to some, it does not mean the development teams should stop doing some of the most important things like daily standups, develop and demo quickly, Ship often, regular collaboration with Business and retrospectives. So we definitely are not going back to waterfall. The logical successor of Agile i.e. “Continuous Delivery (CD)” is a must in the new age of DevOps.

The world is changing very fast and we cannot afford to miss out on learning, miss out on changing and thus miss the opportunities at hand. So do not fall for the bold statements being made about Agile being dead. Agile has never claimed being a prescription, a process or a methodology to follow blindly by the book. It continues to be all about the Mindset.

Don’t divert the flow with obstacles you did not create. There are no Problems, just interesting Impediments to deal with. So we need to share experiences, discuss, innovate, adapt, mature and move on.


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