So I’ve recently taken a job as the Manager of a Project Management Office, and I have a confession to make:
Agile is dead. I’ve seen the body.
All about perspective
When you are on the receiving end of funding, Agile makes perfect sense as it is optimizing the individual project. I give 10 projects $200K and they will deliver the best value they can individually. no problem.
But when I am on the sending end of funding, did I select the right projects? How do I decide which ones to select? If two fail, then what does that do to the company’s bottom line? Could I have used those people on more important projects? How do I justify how I selected the projects?
The Good News
The good news is certain things from how Agile lived his life has been incorporated. Iterative planning and execution is alive and well, as is User Story Mapping, and automated testing, and specification by example. A lot of the Agile practices have had a profound impact on the Software Development methods used. In some places, even Pair Programming is alive and well.
The Bad News
Sadly, the entire patient could not be saved. Now this is for a corporate environment and one that has more freedom than most corporate environments.
No Estimates is dead, Pure flow is dead, no design is dead.
Why? Predictability is king. There needs to be some business case for every project. it doesn’t have to be extremely detailed, but some analysis and design needs to be done. Some recommendation needs to exist for what the solution will look like and what the potential costs and benefits would be.
See the point isn’t about doing the project right, it is about doing the right projects. Any practice that doesn’t help us to pick the right project isn’t Agile, it is Pasunashi. Pasunashi is Japanese for ‘Without Path’.
Selecting projects without a path and executing them without a path is not something I feel comfortable recommending.
But really Agile is not dead because once we pick the right projects, we can do them in an Agile manner and according to “Pasu ika” – Following the Path…