Agile is such a capacious term. Under the flag of agile we do different things. Scrum is agile. And XP is agile. Scrum-in-the-name-only is also agile. We go with no plan whatsoever and that’s so damn agile is agile too.
Yes, you say the first two are true agile and others are fakes just tainting The Holy Agile Name. That reminds me… wasn’t it exactly the same with waterfall and others bad, bad techniques? Wasn’t they tainted by poor implementations which got everything wrong so we had to come with new better methods? Well, just a food for thought.
Coming back to agile. With all these good and bad implementations I can safely say that there’s no single flavor of agile. There never was. I believe it was never intended to be the only one. I recently read notes on the writing of the agile manifesto by Alistair Cockburn and one thing stuck with me:
“I came in through the doorway marked “Efficiency” not the doorway marked “Change” – because my background was in fixed-price fixed-scope projects. (…) Other people came to agile through the doorway marked “Change”, and that’s fine for them.
So although agile gets billed most of time through Kent Beck’s “Embrace Change” moniker, I’m not happy encouraging people to just change stuff all the time – it’s more efficient to think for a while and try to make good decisions early – the world will supply enough change requests without us adding to the list by not thinking.”
Different experiences, different projects, different backgrounds. Different accents when talking about the Manifesto. I can’t say I haven’t expected that at all but still. There was never one universal interpretation of agile principles yet we see every now and then people selling the only right and proper method of being agile. How come?
On a side note: I wrote this piece a few days ago. In the meantime The Big Ugly Change came and kicked my ass big time. “The world will supply enough change requests.” Couldn’t agree more these days.