Agile Magic

With several companies I’ve worked with, agile has been seen as a silver bullet to solve problems of late delivery, bad quality and high cost. But agile is more than a set of practices – its a system of values and principles that need commitment and resources to bring success. Senior management will often say “this team is agile” just because they read the book, have daily stand ups and use words like sprint, iteration and user story. But this has been likened to a cargo cult, where performing agile ‘ceremonies’ are somehow construed as bringing benefits of a true agile implementation. Perhaps this is another aspect of the ‘illusion of control’ invoked by detailed planning and scheduling of projects in waterfall methods. And like the damage such illusion did to waterfall, blind belief in a sprinkling of agile magic dust can prove to be a major setback for true agile adoption.