Agile Stickiness


In the book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, the author describes the idea of stickiness this way:

…the content of the message matters too. And the specific quality that a message needs to be successful is the quality of “stickiness.” Is the message – or the food, or the movie, or the product – memorable? Is it so memorable, in fact, that it can create change, that it can spur someone to action?

What is it about agile that is its essential stickiness? What aspect or aspects of agile are both memorable and easy to act upon?

In the agile software domain, two examples of stickiness stand out. The first is the Extreme Programming (XP) methodology. The name, as well as some of the more controversial practices of XP such as pair programming and evolving design combine to be memorable and relatively easy to try out. The second example of stickiness is the Agile Software Manifesto. In this manifesto, the four values seem to resonate strongly with IT professionals and software developers… so strongly that many encounter them and then become hooked on trying to implement agile software development in their own sphere of influence.

For agile work in general, the term “agile” itself has some stickiness. The implications of speed, flexibility, responding to change, lack of bureaucracy, and skill rather than chaos are all very integral parts of the word when it is applied to a method of working.


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