Don’t Weaponize Agile

(Title was: Stop Using Agile as a Whip and Shield)

I hate “Agile” Initiatives because of the damage they usually cause. The problem is that when people start thinking that “Agile” is the goal they start to weaponize “Agile” and use it as a Whip or a Shield.

The Whip

WhipWe use Agile as a Whip to criticize, accuse, attack and condemn other people. We do this when we don’t like what someone is doing or saying or when they ask us to do something. It sounds like this:

  • “You are not Agile”
  • “That’s not Agile”
  • “How dare you? You can’t ask for something in the middle of a Sprint”
  • “You are supposed to self-organize – why didn’t you do this”

The Shield

ShieldWe use the shield to deflect blame or justify our actions. Here are some examples:

  • “Don’t tell us what to do – We are self-organizing”
  • “You can’t ask us why we are doing something – we are autonomous”
  • “You have to wait for the next Sprint for us to work on that. It’s the rules. Suck it up.”
  • “We have to do it that way, we are Agile”

Whips and Shields are not part of Agile

Agile is about valuing the individuals and the interactions. It is about collaboration – let’s work on this together. It is talking about how to get to working software and get results.

A healthy option is to talk about goals and how to accomplish them together – not to attack and defend with whips and shields.

See Wholehearted Manifesto for what Agile is really about for me and many others.

Help people in your environment put away the whips and shields and start having conversations about what is important.

Agile is NOT the Goal

Read more about how to avoid this by ensuring that Agile is NOT the Goal.

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