Where we go wrong with Agile

I’m no expert on Agile software development or agile working but being more agile in the ways we work is something I have aspired to for many years, so I have an opinion on where we might sometimes go wrong when implementing agile in an organisation.

The problems of the realities of agile not meeting the expectations are rooted, I think, in that many people consider agile an implementation methodology, all about producing work, doing stuff. And it isn’t about doing, it’s about learning. Agile is a learning methodology.

The first five words of the Agile Manifesto, “We are uncovering better ways…” seem very much about learning. It doesn’t say, “We have ‘uncovered’ better ways”, to state that the better ways to do software development have been found, so no need to keep looking. And it doesn’t say, “We have uncovered the ‘best’ way”, to state that the one true answer has been found. No, it says that being agile is about always looking for and uncovering better ways, always learning.

If we view agile in this way, as all about learning, then more things start to make sense. The regular cadence and short time boxes with fast feedback loops facilitate learning, not producing more work.