The Anti Agile Manifesto – a Robust Response

I saw this on LinkedIn today: http://antiagilemanifesto.com/

My first thought was “Why would anyone developing software ever be against agility?”, so I read it:
“Agile is simply the obfuscation of common sense – the bewitchment of the mind through language”.

Bad Agilists! It is very unfair to use linguistic wizardry against the poorly tuned literacy skills of we simple IT folk. Yet, when I read about Agile, I thought I’d tripped headlong into the soft, welcoming caress of a fluffy, newly laundered quilt of common-sense that I’d always dreamed of through my years of methodological rough sleeping. Clearly, we need to consider this new evidence carefully: “epics are really just projects”. Well, no, they’re not are they? Projects have a known, fixed scope and known finite length and almost by definition, Agile methods don’t. So, in fact, you haven’t really understood, have you? If you’d said “epics are really just big lumps of work”, then fair enough. But you didn’t.

What about“velocity is really just output”. Again, no. I accept that it isn’t a distinction you’re used to making but it’s “…just useful output”. You know, output with business value? No, of course you don’t. Why would you?

What about the rest?:

  • stories are really just use cases
  • sprints are really just work
  • stand-ups are really just meetings
  • iterations are really just versions
  • backlogs are really just to do lists
  • backlog grooming is really just planning
  • burn-down charts are really just earned value charts
  • and that tasks, in fact, are really just tasks.

Yes, I’m fine with all of those but let’s face it, you’ve had enough difficulty grasping that some features of Agile methods are COMPLETELY, FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT that I think the new words were just there to get you a bit excited about trying out something new but you don’t really want to, do you? You’d rather carry on not getting useful things done the way you always have.

Your ‘Stay slow and inflexible’ manifesto ends:

“That is, while the concepts on the left are often presented as groundbreaking or unique, they are merely weakly defined versions of those on the right.”

Were they, really? It sounds like you make bad choices generally. You may wish to try training providers who understand what the ground-breaking Agile concepts actually are. When you understand that “weakly defined” is “lean and flexible”, get back to us – if you aren’t too embarrassed. Agile isn’t perfect and there was plenty you could have legitimately criticised. But you didn’t.

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