Agile or Not Agile?

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Every once in a while the del.icio.us tag for Agile turns up something really interesting. This evening, I found this article about the ongoing use of the term “Agile”. The article is brief and a little weak, but it brings up a concern that is always niggling in the back of my mind. Interestingly enough, a good friend of mine, Christian Gruber, emailed me another web page of similar import…


In this registration page for Rules of Enterprise Agility, we read about something that really has nothing to do with the Agile Manifesto, nor the Agile Axioms.

Both of these examples are signs of two things:

1. The growing popularity of the term “Agile”.
2. The growing dilution of the meaning of the term.

How can we fight this? Should we fight this?

I think it is very important to constantly call attention to the fact that Agile is about the minimum process and tools that can possibly work, and only in the context of valuing individuals, interactions and teams more than those tools and processes.

Trust is the Foundation of Agile Work

Technology, tools, process, even good ideas and good organizations do not create trust. People create trust by being trustworthy: honoring their commitments, striving for excellence, truthfulness, courage. One of the fundamental problems afflicting organizations is the lack of trust: between management and employees, between business and IT, between experts of various sorts, between coworkers.

This lack of trust is institutionalized in many ways including bureaucracy and legal frameworks.

The only way to change this state of affairs is to build trust. And the only way to build trust is to embody trustworthiness in yourself so that by example and by your words you can help others to become more trustworthy.

Agile methods put in place mechanisms that assist in building trust. But those mechanisms are merely a means to an end. Let us never forget that.


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