Did Agile advocacy play down the rebellious angle to sell it?

Agile photo by Lala Azizli on Unsplash


What to do after uttering the magic word? A few “dangerous” things to say, ask for a definition of Agile, ask whether teams are Agile (cos’ of course they are! duh!), ask whether Agile has brought success to a company. Dangerous in the sense that a profusion of words will ensue, hot takes, debates that are hard to avoid or contain. Such discussions usually end in stalemates, with people quietly agreeing to disagree.

There is sufficient evidence that some of the early advocates aimed to challenge the established ways of working, as they saw problems that needed to be fixed. And this is where the term rebellion ought to be considered. However, we know it’s not easy to sell rebellion to any established order/organisation, it works better to polish the pitch and highlight the benefits. So, possibly, the early Agile advocates and luminaries were promoting a rebellion in all but the name, and the salespeople might have sold a watered down if not totally different vision, and that can help make sense of the wild range of Agile that is found in organisations.

The article, that inspired this post, is worth reading (with your own lenses on): Agile at 20, the failed rebellion.

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