The following article is only the result of the experiences from friends, colleagues, engineers and managers I've worked with. It has to be taken with a grain of salt.
My background: Tech Lead / Cloud Architect / Fullstack engineer (Europe / US)
Disclaimer: the following article deals with Agile but it can be applied to quite anything.
The real topic being "What we think of something becomes that something"
The bad side
Agile today is more than a set of methodologies and frameworks. It's a way to convince developers to come work for you. I see the word Agile in absolutely all the job descriptions recruiters send me.
And it's understandable. We can all agree that Agile is very attractive nowadays.
Therefore, it's in a company's interest to tell you how Agile it is.
Let's call this hypothetical company AgileCorpInc (tip: the best way to prove everyone that you are Agile is to add it in the company name)
I see three possibilities:
AgileCorpInc is actually Agile
AgileCorpInc is not Agile but believes it is
AgileCorpInc is not Agile and is trying to trick you into believing it is
Let's talk about number 2 because I believe it is the worst case.
You might be familiar with the No True Scotsman argument (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman)
Person A: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Person B: "But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge."
Person A: "But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
In the case of Agile, you can have the following example
Person A: "Doing such thing is not Agile"
Person B: "My team was Agile and did such thing"
Person A: "Your team was not truly Agile"
Why do we have that sort of conversation? I believe the reasons to be:
* Few people know what Agile means
* Bad managers use the word Agile to mislead the team into doing what the manager wants (- Do that. - Why? - Because it's Agile)
* Many people think Agile means Flexible and don't look any further
A bit of sass
The following is an example of conversation that I have whenever a tech manager/leader mentions the word Agile:
Manager: We are Agile.
Me: Oh really, great. Do you like it?
Manager: Oh yeah we love it.
Me: What does it mean to be Agile?
Manager (most of the time): *doesn't know what to say + mentions scrum*
Hurtful for the beginners
Pretending to be Agile is messing with the beginners.
Take Alex. Alex got their first job. They are a software developper.
Interestingly enough, their team was falsely advertised as being Agile.
Alex spends 2 years in that company, thinking they are Agile.
Alex was given erroneous views of what Agile is.
Best case: Alex will correct their views when switching job.
Worst case: Alex will propagate their erroneous views when switching job.
What are the real causes
* bad managers using the concept of Agile to manipulate the team
* lack of research / following your colleagues blindly
* misunderstanding of what Agile is
* We are Agile because we do standups/retros/reviews
* We are Agile because we use complexity points
* We are Agile because we use burdown charts / jira / such tool
Difference between Europe and the US (opinionated)
In Europe, the agility of your team is as good as the least Agile developers
* Agile only works if your team trully believes in it. The goal is to educate the team and let it self-organize.
In the US, the agility of your team is as good as the least Agile boss/leader
* Your boss has the final word (over generalization). Things go their way. If you disagree, well that's too bad
Personal point of view
I love the Agile methodologies because they create solutions and workarounds to a lot of problems.
I think it's a shame that false-Agile is used to manipulate developers into working in -sometimes- top/down paradigms (the do-as-I-say-because-it's-agile dogma).
I'm saddened that some developers think Agile sucks because of erroneous experiences that were not Agile
Did you experienced the false-Agile fallacy?
When was your best / worst experience?
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