alacrity in action
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A company decides to follow the current trend and finally adopt this whole “agile” thing. They’ve been using the adjective for some time now in their job offers and eventually got some people who have done it before. The scrum framework is chosen, as the most popular, and instantaneously the project managers become CSMs, work is chopped up into fortnightly iterations, user stories are written, demos are given, … the whole lot.

Weeks and months go by, senior managers review progress and they are pleased.

  • User stories: we are finally able to lock the requirements down into the finest detail. Win.
  • Daily stand-up: never was there so much opportunity for regular micro-management. Win.
  • Demos: now also the more senior people get to play the micro-management game. Win.
  • Retrospectives: we did the best job we could, pat on the back, morale boost. Win.
  • Sprint planning: at last we know exactly how long it will take and we know whom to hold accountable. Win.
  • Scrum board: there is a new system, now we can track everything, Every. Single. Smallest. Bug. Win.

Eventually the “agile” adoption creates an environment precisely like the one manifesto signatories were working so hard to avoid.

I’m sure it doesn’t happen.

I’m sure it shouldn’t happen.

Or should it?



  1. Retrospectives: we did the best job we could, pat on the back, morale boost.

    Surely “we get to regularly assign blame for anything that went wrong”?

  2. Awesome.
    Thank you.
    That should’ve been written earlier!
    Shouldn’t it?

  3. Yup – too many command and control types see Agile as a way of exerting even more control. They especially love the “we embrace change” concept and ignore the caveats associated with change. Of course, they tend to disregard the bit about values, the authority for the specific roles, pulling testing forward with TDD & pair programming, allowing teams to fail so as to learn from those mistakes, etc. It becomes the worst of both worlds. I try to communicate that since INPUT + PROCESSES = OUTPUT, you can’t get the great boost in productivity that Agile promises if you cherry pick the processes you adopt.

  4. One of the best blog posts I have read for some time and so true. Let’s catch up, in London a lot now.

  5. The charage that (is/was) Agile and especially Scrum seems to be crumbling at a rapid clip now that the “successes” are felt so far and wide.


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