Project Management

Letting Go of 'Pure' Agile

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I probably need to stop paying so much attention to my LinkedIn feed. It inevitably frustrates me. On the other hand, I channel the frustration into articles like this one. This time, as is often the case to be honest, my frustration comes from proponents of Agile who are focused on the pure ideals of what Agile was originally intended to be. Note that I didn’t write “what Agile is” because that's evolved, while some of the purists have not.

One exchange went something like “I can’t believe how many people claim that Kanban is an Agile methodology, next time someone says that to you, make sure to tell them that they’re wrong.” Which generated responses like “I know, it’s crazy, the next thing you know they’ll be claiming that Lean is an Agile methodology!” Now, the information conveyed isn’t wrong — Lean started in manufacturing long before the Agile Manifesto was written, and Kanban was originally a way to visualize the flow of work within Lean manufacturing environments.

My issue is that most people aren’t going to worry about the nuances of how these approaches started, what they were originally designed for, and whether they are part of ‘pure’ Agile. They’re just going to read that Lean and Kanban aren’t Agile and interpret that they are inappropriate for an organization that is looking to become more Agile. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The popular …

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Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

- Robert Frost