An Armchair Agile QB

It’s been an interesting time in the Agile world lately.  I have read posts, tweets and the related threads with a little bit of amusement but, really, it has all just made me a little sad.  Dave Thomas, a signor of the manifesto, offers a perspective here regarding Agility and says:

“The word “agile” has been subverted to the point where it is effectively meaningless, and what passes for an agile community seems to be largely an arena for consultants and vendors to hawk services and products.”

I read the discussions on twitter.  I read the blog posts and all the comments.  Here’s YET ANOTHER flaming rail against SAFe (because there haven’t been enough).  Be sure to read the comments.  That’s where the magic happens.  And I sit at home, after a long day working and coaching, wondering how people have the energy to throw verbal hissy fits when, in theory, we’re all working and passionate about the same thing.  Unless, we’re not…

The Agile manifesto was a call to action.  A cry to work differently.  A rallying point.  People were passionate about it and the ensuing alignment was natural and a testament to its simplicity and purpose.  Dave was proud of the work but, not THAT proud:

“However, since the Snowbird meeting, I haven’t participated in any Agile events,1 I haven’t affiliated with the Agile Alliance, and I haven’t done any “agile” consultancy. I didn’t attend the 10th anniversary celebrations.

Why? Because I didn’t think that any of these things were in the spirit of the manifesto we produced.”

So, after the Snowbird meeting the Manifesto immediately became  an arena for consultants and product hawkers.  That’s the Fastest.Impact.Ever.  He was part of something larger than himself and proud of it – until, seemingly, the very next day.  You’re proud your name is on it as a signor but not proud enough to advocate for it or help people learn?  You write a blog post to slam what others have done, but won’t have a face to face conversation with those same people because it’s not in the spirit of the manifesto?

I LOVE that the post was written.  It starts a good discussion and it’s honest.   I would really love to see him attend the conferences he eschews and work to address the problems he has identified.  Engage on the field rather than being an arm-chair QB.

It’s ludicrous to see coaches beating each other up over the brands, methods and certifications.  Seriously?  It’s all rooted in the same four core values that haven’t changed.  Not once. Though I have even seen suggestions to change them too.  If you don’t like the method/framework/brand, don’t teach it.  No one is forcing it down your throat.  These rants (mine included)  kill me because the simplicity and the power that lies in the Manifesto get lost. As Agile professionals we’re collectively responsible for our profession and what started it.   Regardless of HOW it’s adopted or approached, what’s important – to me anyway – is the values and principles are front and center.  If there’s a framework that doesn’t put them front and center for you, there’s nothing stopping you from doing it yourself.

Disagreement and dialogue are good when we’re all trying to achieve a common goal.  Are we?

I’m going to go ahead and blame Dave for all this craziness because he took his ball and went home but continued to watch through the window and holler at everyone.  😉




2 thoughts on “An Armchair Agile QB

  1. Valerie,

    Very good article. Thank you. Please check link that you included for article on SAFE. It should be different I think that the one for Dave’s article.

    Thank you again.

    Samad Aidane

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