Agile is not Dead - It just needs Re-Calibrating

Aug 7, 2019 12:00:00 PM / by John Cockburn-Evans

I was intrigued by a recent article from Raj Bhatia from PMP on "Agile". The main tenet of the article that Agile is now dead and arguably was it ever really alive. There was some interesting myth busting about the appropriateness of its use. You can imagine, that it brought some vociferous responses from the agile community. I am not convinced that "Agile is Dead", but like everything it is about context and perspective. I have a sense it needs a better understanding, hence the title of this blog. I am more an advocate of Lean than Agile, but that is my background. If you look at the approaches at a principle level, there are clear overlaps. It is fundamentally about removing waste and meeting the prescribed outcome in the most efficient and effective way possible. Where I believe they both fall down is when the concepts are over utilised or specifically their intrinsic value is over interpreted. The true value of these concepts is both the mindset and the requirement for short interval control and a rapid step wise approach. A waste elimination mindset is fundamental to success for both approaches. Outcome rather than activity focus is critical, and this is where short interval control comes in. There is a necessity to check-in and check-out of the activity in order be effective. I liken this to switching from the "Helicopter" view to the "Weeds" view. The best PM's can do this rapidly.Too often the PM's get stuck in the tramlines, limiting their ability to be outcome focused.

Keeping the organisation bought in, is another critical factor. This is where an effective coaching programme can help to support the change agents. This is about ensuring that the working culture in the organisation is consistent with the working culture of agile and lean.This requires constant validation. 

In summary, I believe the calibration of "Agile" is around the proper understanding of the approach and where its fit and in particular where it best fits. 


Tags: Impact, Lean, Productivity, waste, Organisation, agile

John Cockburn-Evans

Written by John Cockburn-Evans