After 10 years of Agile Manifesto, Agile is mainstream, maybe the time has come for the next generation

10 years have passed, bringing successes [0][1], and bringing new challenges for the next 10 years [2][3][4][5].

Also now, Agile is mainstream.
And this can be the major change after these 10 years.
Indeed this is something that cannot be changed, controlled or forced into a predefined plan.
Instead is something to welcome and to adapt to, searching for the best possible outcomes.

This event, Agile that from a minority is turned into a mainstream approach, also has the potential to be a disruptive event, because it can change the game and this could fade away most of the original Agile ideas.
For example the lack of openness could lead to fundamentalist adherence to misunderstood rules and could cause the loss of the expected benefit/advantages of Agile.  And the loss of the key Agile foundations could lead to a fictional representation of Agile (in a picture) that doesn't produce real benefits/advantages and that justify fake evolutions that are founded on misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Nat Pryce expressed the latter idea with these words:
In software "X improves upon Y" seems to mean "X improves upon the bit of Y that the author of X learned about".

For what I understand, when a minority turn mainstream, to survive and to evolve needs to preserve the most valuable traits of its identity and at the same time needs to be open to changes and contaminations, be curious, exploit diversity [6] be inclusive and build bridges.  A prerequisite for this is to deepen and strength the understanding of the key valuable factors of Agile, its identity behind rituals and conventions, and to spread the key knowledge and key practices, make them resilient to the ongoing Mash-up and crossover that is happening with lot of contributions from different sources, fields, people, background. And be open to let all the others non essentials/key things go.
Or in other words:
When you identify yourself with your favorite agile method, you are not agile

How ?

Here I try to propose a possible answer, for example I would like to read more books/articles and see more discussions and teams deepening
  • more about Agile values and principles, enough to become able to recognize in everyday real situation whether an action/decision/practice in that specific context adhere to Agile values and principles and whether not and what are the practical consequences

  • the internals of Scrum and XP practices, know and understand exactly what effects each practice is expected to produce in combination with the others, enough to recognize when a team is already achieving all the outcomes expected from a practice and so the team does not need to enforce that practice explicitly anymore (e.g. as Kent Beck describes in Software G forces), and enough to understand how a modification to a practice could affect the  overall productivity quality and chances of success (e.g. becoming able to adapt/modify Scrum effectively as Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber would do and not the way they wouldn't do)

  • social complexity and self-organisation enough to be able to distinguish between simple complicated and complex problems, make sense of complex contexts, have the tools to identify and explore the unknowns, deal with inherent uncertainty, inspect and adapt to react properly to unpredictable events, to make proper use of available levers to direct and influence the emergence of behaviors toward positive directions to the advantage of the organization the team and to the project success, to amplify the emergence of beneficial behaviors and to reduce or revert the non beneficial ones

And you, how would you answer to this challenge?


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Print | posted @ Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:39 AM

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