The Agile movement had some great ideas, but they were not quite right or were misapplied. Calls to fix Agile abound. (See link, link, link, and link) Dave Thomas, one of the authors of the original Agile Manifesto, said, “The values [of Agile] have been totally lost behind the implementation”. Ron Jeffries, another Manifesto author, wrote, “it breaks my heart to see the ideas we wrote about in the Agile Manifesto used to make developers’ lives worse, instead of better”.
Agile got us away from big plans, control-obsessed managers, and bureaucratic processes. But Agile, as it exists today, fails to address big data, distributed systems, or the need for leadership at scale. And too many Agile practices are one-size-fits-all and fail to account for the individual – an irony since the first value in the Agile Manifesto begins with “Individuals…”
The past 20 years have been an Agile experiment, and it is time to pivot. Say welcome to Agile 2!
Agile 2 was a collaborative effort of 15 highly experienced people: a diverse international group with expertise in product design, human resources (“PeopleOps”), data, program management (Agile and traditional), leadership, engineering, programming, DevOps, and – of course – Agile. We put our heads together, conducted a retrospective, and defined a new Agile, beginning with a clean slate, but informed by what has worked and what was missed the first time around.
Overview of Agile 2
Agile 2 reiterates the original Manifesto’s emphasis on contextual application of Agile ideas: one size does not fit all. Some of the other main ideas in Agile 2 are,
- Leadership is a complex issue: simply saying that everyone must self organize is not sufficient. The right leadership model is needed for each situation.
- Data is strategic, and must be part of a product strategy.
- Collaboration is important, but so is deep thought, which requires focus without interruption; and collaboration is not an event – it is a process – and often requires many forms of communication – not just one.
- Generalists are very important to have, but so are experts, and teams must learn to work with experts: for example, machine learning experts need to be able to work smoothly with Agile teams.
- Teams are important, but so are individuals; and people want career advancement; and while everyone on a team deserves respect and a chance to try new things, not everyone is the same.
Check out Agile 2 and pivot into a new Agile!