Agility: A Profound Change?
Or just a passing trend?
9 February 2017
Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.
During dinner with friends, we discussed Agile, after a little politics and before dessert.
I spoke — as usual a little transported — of the benefits of Agile, especially in the area I know best: computer science. I tried to explain the substantial marrow to attentive and benevolent ears.
And poof! As I floated peacefully in my cloud of agility, human values, well-being at work, commitment, participation, and adaptation to change, I encountered an air bump: "But, dude, Agile — it's a fashion effect, a passing trend. Everyone is talking about it right now, but in maybe two years, it will be over, we will go back and do things the old way."
Ouch. That hurt, and it required reflection.
My reaction was to say that no, Agile in business (at least for IT projects) is not a fashionable choice, a passing trend, but rather a profound change in functioning in our approach to work, in our relationship to others.
That said, I could prove nothing.
Big anxiety for two days.
I was clearly oriented toward an idealistic and beneficent vision of human beings, of our ability to carry the good with us, to encourage fundamentally positive values as a team. What if I I was completely wrong? What if the "fashion effect" was real?
Well, OK, what is a fashion effect or passing trend? A trend arises from its gurus and is noticed by trend trackers. They jump on the bandwagon, then are ready to jump off to catch the next one. It is true that such people exist in the Agile world; there are opportunists there as everywhere. But a fashion effect is, I think, also cyclical: It is not for nothing that our children borrow our old clothes (totally hip or vintage; call them what you choose). Agile is not cyclical, from what I know (I consider myself a novice, as you'll have noticed). A fashion effect is also short, while Agile has been built over decades of observations and experiments in environments requiring optimal productivity, high quality in products, and total customer satisfaction. A fashion effect does not really involve the customer, who is more of a passive consumer. Agile is just the opposite.
In short, I seek, I contemplate, and I believe. I want to believe that this movement is more than a passing trend and that mentalities, hierarchical relationships, postures, and their implications will change, have changed already — and that these changes will last for a long time.
Of course, some companies will resist, maybe adopt a totally opposite position. These companies will probably continue to function and may even remain leaders in their field. But at what price, for the human in particular?
This is only the beginning of my reflection, but you — what do you think? Agile: fashion effect or profound change?
Current rating: 4 (1 ratings)
The community welcomes feedback that is constructive and supportive, in the spirit of better understanding and implementation of Scrum.