Remember when Agile was about “getting stuff done”?

Team of three agile project managers looking at project data on laptop on desk in office

Looking at Agile methods today, I see things that have evolved rapidly over the past ten years but lost much of the original purpose along the way.

In fact, many of the recent changes have done little to address longstanding stakeholder concern that Agile doesn’t provide the information they need to be sure of a successful project outcome.

How have we got here?

The original Agile manifesto was based on a premise of putting people before process; but everything that’s associated with Agile methods these days is related to a process or tool. Every last one of them.

And if you look at the people who put themselves forward as Agile experts or coaches, many of them are not pointing to actual results they have delivered for an organization but rather the great meeting they facilitated or specific technique they used.

It’s become all about the detail, rather than a team of people coming together to “get stuff done.”

Not only that, I’ve watched Agile veer into areas that have very little to do with running a business or developing software. So much so, that we have almost reached a point where “deadline” is seen as a dirty word. This is dangerous thinking, as it ignores the fact that the best teamwork happens when we are motivated by a defined goal and timeframe.

Any other factors?

The situation is also not helped by the increasingly blinkered views of some “agilistas” — many of whom are professional speakers rather than grass roots practitioners. Instead of welcoming more traditional views and opening their minds to working with others, they are encouraging siloed thinking which means losing valuable interaction between teams.

Let’s not forget that a good Scrum Master and a good Agile manager can achieve brilliant things — but only if they are open to working together to achieve the best possible outcome. If they are each more concerned with what a particular method tells them to do, it won’t work because they are not coming from the same place. I’m not saying that all change is bad. Much of this is useful stuff but what it doesn’t do is solve the problem of how to make Agile work in a corporate world which operates around controls. Continuing to ignore this fact is never going to work long-term.

How do we get back?

This is where PRINCE2 Agile® can help. It can provide Agile project managers — and anyone else in a position that involves direct contact with senior management and/or the board — with an understanding of the wider business context. The bottom line? Without this perspective and the ability to communicate in a common language, it will be very difficult for Agile to clear the final hurdle.

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts by Julie Hendry

Project management in an Agile world

Agile and PRINCE2: The Language Barrier

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Comments

17 Apr 2020 Steve Boronski
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Good point about the way things have progressed, I would suggest that we are not motivated by a "defined" goal, more an "agreed" defined goal and timeframe.
20 Apr 2020 Julie Hendry
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I agree Steve, it can sometimes be challenging to get precisely the right words when posts are transcribed.
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