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Agile's no true Scotsman problem
2 min read
On my corner of the internet, the battle lines have been drawn, the sides divided, and experts have started to hand out 'agile membership cards'.
If you do scrum you are not agile!
If you have a backlog you cannot be agile!
If you have a Product Manager you cannot be agile!
Meetings are not part of the agile manifesto!
Will proclaim the true Scotts of Agilism while also saying things like:
Agile is a state of being, either you are or you are not. You do not become agile
(Here is my course on being agile)
And, to be frank, as someone that likes the idea of Agile... I grow tired of it. Because people will rightly counter the "But mah Agile" with "But mah reality."
And for all that, they declare themselves defenders of the manifesto (which already irks me), and, indeed, the manifesto does not say: 'do a daily standup' or 'use a backlog'. It also does not preclude it!
If you think there is one true way of being agile, you are as agile as Waterfall, SCRUM or SaFE.
Agile has no set of defined or forbidden practices; it's a set of principles, which makes them fuzzy. It is right for people and companies to interpret them differently due to different contexts.
At the end of the day, I believe Agile to be about adaptability as a team and a company and if a backlog works for you, or you do CI without CD, or you use branches... All the more power to you!
Try things as a team or company, run experiments, and see what sticks. Change what doesn't work. Make the 'floor employees' agents of change, but the pace at which you do so will depend on the context.
You are in the agile ballpark as long as you listen to your customers, can adapt to change, collaborate with your colleagues, and deliver working software.
And no one cares if you are Agile or not unless you believe that the principles of the agile manifesto will help you deliver software faster with fewer defects (and hopefully with a happier team, to be honest, that one is paramount for me, but there is a reason I am not a business owner)