My Agile 2014 Book Report


I don’t do conferences. The last Agile conference I was at was five years ago, in 2009. So although I’ve been engaged in the work, I haven’t spent much time with large groups of Agile practitioners in some while. I thought it might be useful to folks if I wrote down my observations about the changes in five years.

The Good

The Bad

The Culture

Budgeting? Strategic alignment? Huh? Who let the managers into this place?

Budgeting? Strategic alignment? Huh? Who let the managers into this place?

Good and Bad


We are realizing that any kind of role definition in an organization can be a huge source of impediment for that organization growing and adapting. You’re better off training engineers to do other things than you are bringing in folks who do other things and expecting them to work with engineers. So much of everything can be automated, and whatever your role is, you should be automating it away.

Having said that, I don’t think anybody really knows what to do with this information. We already have a huge workforce with predefined roles. What to do with them? Nobody wants to say it directly, but there it is: we have the wrong workforce for the types of problems we need to be solving.

Finally, it’s very difficult to be excited about new things you’re trying and at the same time be a pragmatist about using only what works. It’s possible, but it’s tough. If Agile is only love and goodness, then you’re probably doing it the wrong way. Agile is useful because the shared values lead us into exploring areas we are emotionally uncomfortable with. Not because it’s a new religion or philosophy to beat other people over the head with. It should be telling you to try things you don’t like. If not, you’re not doing it the right way. Enough philosophy (grin).

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August 5, 2014

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