This year proved interesting for those in the agile community, or at least for me. The most commercialised agile methodology lost one of its largest figureheads, and a new community of thinkers emerged focused on prioritising a practice often implied or described as optional in other methodologies. What I found fascinating about a new community forming is that in finding its own identity, it naturally results in denouncing ties with existing communities (to a certain degree) and comparisons about whether or not they are “agile”.
This lead me to ask myself, “What is wrong with agile?” To better understand it, I went back to finding out why “agile” first started. From my understanding, a community of thinking practitioners (not just thinkers) coined the phrase “agile” to unite people working in different ways to help identify with each other. The actual methods for working in an “agile” fashion existed well before they coined the term.
I respect and heartily thank this group of thinking practitioners for coining the term “agile”. A simple word acting as an umbrella that encourages people to swap ideas between communities. I recognise this same “vagueness” that draws people together also makes it difficult for newcomers to identify with what it means.
Look at how other communities relentlessly protect their set of practices, branding and declaring you are or are not doing methodology X or approach Y, particularly when reinforced with certification programs. I’ve realised this same protectionist attitude acts as a wall to new ideas spreading between people and organisations that could be beneficial.
I vouch that the term “agile” remains useful. Let us not forget the original intent behind the word. Let us embrace and create opportunities to continue welcoming all thinking practitioners from different backgrounds to connect and swap ideas and experiences to be more effective and successful.