What’s going on with Agile?

Mike Veerman recently shared this tweet as a joke : Scrum means ‘Waterfall but we don’t have time to analyze’, Kanban means ‘Scrum, but we don’t have time for sprint planning’, Agile means ‘We have no process, but we do use JIRA extensively’.

Agility explanation on a board and a man

Seing the reactions on this tweet, he made an article out of it, where he basically says that Agile movement is dying and that something else needs to come.

At Clarity we don’t particularly feel that Agile is dead, or that Scrum became useless. We think that the fact that many struggle with Scrum or to implement agile model taken from the outside is because those orgs may lack the tools to craft their own custom agile processes. They end up frustrated, not really achieving to fit to the model “as it should be”.

While some could say that it is because of a lack of willingness from the managers or a poor implementation/understanding of Scrum from the start, we think it is mostly due to a lack of broader organisational agility.

From our point of view, taking good practices and models (Agile, Scrum, Kanban…) as blueprints is a right thing to do, but as long as those models are then adapted to suit the organization’s context and people. Scrum roles and processes for instances, while providing a nice structure to start with, should eventually evolve according to the specific needs of the people using it.

And that’s eventually what happens, and why a lot of companies don’t do “pure” Scrum.

But where it causes a problem is when the adaptations of the model are mostly a comeback of waterfall management and practices… because no one knows how to do better, or because they don’t have tools that allow them to dynamically integrate the improvements identified by the team on a regular basis and clearly and efficiently change its way of working according to it.

That means a lack of clarity and agility on roles and processes, sometimes called “governance”, that leads to old-management/waterfall habits… not wanted by the teams either.

We at Clarity can help you to prevent this from happening. With the Clarity Way of Working, we have developed a tailor-made approach to upgrade your way of working towards more clarity and agility.

So just remember that agility is not just about project management. It's also about agility for roles and processes. And for us, that's the "step further" that organizations really need to take.

by François Flamion