15 years of agile: now break those bad habits!

Door Patrick Verheij

This year it will be 15 years ago that seventeen bold men huddled up and put the now well-known Agile Manifesto together. That’s one-five years. In 2001 it was. Those were days that mobile phones were not that common yet. Nobody had a smartphone and most people in the civilized world didn’t have broadband internet.\r\n\r\nSo…if you still can’t memorize at least the front page of the Agile Manifesto then do something about it. Now. Yes. You should, because it is a great reminder which we can use in the every day practice of software development. Or even product development if you like.\r\n\r\nThe Agile Manifesto helps us reflect on our behaviour by providing us three insights:\r\n


  1. We can discover better ways of doing our jobs by actually doing that job and help others do it too. So instead of yelling from the sky box and giving directions based on just the score board, we participate and pull people in the game. Seems to go well with some inspection and adaptation mixed with a lot of collaboration.
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  3. We come a long way by preferring just 4 things over 4 other things. Those 4 things involve having chats with nice people, creating a real product, working with clients and changing stuff when stuff needs to change.
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  5. Just twelve principles aid us in doing a great customer-centric job where the work is done by and entrusted to experts who make sure that job is done very well and the result of that work respons to change very well.
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\r\nMost, perhaps even all of the stuff in the Agile Manifesto is a huge open door. Nothing you haven’t heard or read about earlier. Common sense so to say.\r\n\r\nJust like knowing that eating vegetables and fruits is healthy.\r\n\r\nJust like knowing that smoking kills. And guns too for that matter.\r\n\r\nJust like knowing that checking Instagram, Facebook or Twitter on a moving bike increases the risk of getting flattened greatly.\r\n\r\nWhenever we look around in companies, we witness many people doing the OPPOSITES of what is written in the manifesto.\r\n\r\nAfter fifteen years (five-one) of Agile Manifesto and over 20 years of Scrum, DSDM, Evo, etc., we still meet programmers who have never met a user of their software, we hear the wails of business analysts breaking their heads over problems without a client in sight, we forsake managers who spend most of their time writing PowerPoint reports and preparing steering committees instead of leading a project towards results, we witness purchase departments spending tons of money on tools and equipments which has never been tested on usability by the teams that are forced to use the stuff after purchase and we empathize with people being demotivated because the results of their hard work are devastated by a single decision from a person they hardly know.\r\n\r\nAnd thus we bring tissues to wipe away the tears of all those CIO’s that see most of their investment money being vaporized by spendings on continuity instead of the so craved innovation which could greatly enhance their companies.\r\n\r\nCompanies are disrupted by bad habits. Bad, bad, seemingly unbreakable bad habits.\r\n\r\nSo hail to the people who understand the agile manifesto. Hail to the people who embrace the common sense and take it to heart. Hail to those who remind themselves and others of those open doors and guide them through. A big salute to those who establish new, healthy habits.\r\n\r\nEven if you despise the word “agile” after years of trying to “implement Scrum”, getting stuck with SAFe, having your spirit broken by being a Scrum Master in a rigid organization. Even then, just embrace the simple common sense written down in the Agile Manifesto. And start changing habits.\r\n\r\nDo it today. If not for anyone else, then at least for yourself.\r\n\r\nGo make a ruckus 🙂

Patrick Verheij

06 59 443 447

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