Threats to Agile
Coming this spring, Better Software magazine will publish an interview with Ken Schwaber that I conducted. As part of my blog, I will publish a number of excerpts. Here is part 3 of 5. Enjoy.
KS - I think the biggest threat to agile adoption is people’s desire for certainty and their belief that somehow, if they can nail things down just a little better, they will have certainty. You see that with SAFe and D.A.D. and even Kanban, which has more certainty than Scrum. Even within Scrum there are conversations about how to get more predictability with velocity, more precision in sprint planning and trying to be more certain of what we are going to deliver at the end of the sprint. All that is absolute contrary from the biggest idea in Scrum: let’s use short cycles so we don’t care about how much we create because we are going to find out very soon. Middle management wants predictability so they still haven’t gotten on board because we haven’t clarified their role.
I heard a year ago at an ALM conference that one guy was giving a talk saying agile was a fad. He was talking about what the next biggest fad would be. That scared me because I think the basic thinking in Scum is to use empiricism to manage complexity. If they view this thinking as a fad then it can swing back to “let’s try to control this” and that’s a danger.
Over the last 3 years I’ve seen everyone is coming up with a new way to make money off of agile and its not really thought through but just an application of old thinking to the agile movement. They stand a good chance of crushing agile; of turning agile into a nice set of ideas that are honored in word but not in principal.