Why does Agile get so much pushback? 

 February 2, 2022

By  Anthony Amos

On Reddit, a user asked, “Why does Agile get so much hate?”.

The Answer may not be what you expect.

“Agile organizations change their mindset by practicing trust in the people who do the work”

Tony Amos

Let’s start with the fundamental understanding that Agile is a mindset. It is a way of life within an organization It seems that you may be in one such organization, you are fortunate.

I compare Agile to maintaining satisfying body weight. Most people confuse weight management with diet and/or exercise. However, bodyweight is actually a reflection of lifestyle rather than diet or exercise People who live a physically active and emotionally centered life rarely struggle with a body weight that they find satisfactory. But, when people decide to change their weight by dieting or starting a short-term exercise regimen, they see a short-term benefit, then revert to where they started.

Agile organizations change their mindset by practicing trust in the people who do the work, providing an environment of emotional safety so that everyone’s voice is heard, and working collaboratively rather than following orders. This is a radical shift in American corporate thinking, which is why most American companies cannot become Agile. They are unable or unwilling to leave the dysfunction behind. You will easily find people who hate diets and exercise, and that is understandable because neither is a long-term solution to body management. You will just as easily find people who hate Agile after experiencing an organization that tried some aspect of Agile without changing their mindset.

You’ll notice that most truly Agile companies are either young or part of a foreign expansion. Companies that disrupt markets tend to be more Agile. Agile companies generally have more pleasant work environments and more productive people; but most importantly, are better able to respond to changing business conditions. Some established companies have successfully made the transition — one example is Microsoft. As they found, changing mindset is much more difficult than changing practices.

Read more about managing Agile Teams here.

Anthony Amos

Anthony started creating software in 1981 when he curiously picked up the programming manual for a Wang OIS Word Processor while deployed with the US Navy. He had never seen a computer before, but he taught himself how to write programs that made his Navy work easier and more accurate.
After his honorable discharge in 1986, he began creating financial and analytical software for diverse organizations including Verizon Wireless, JP Morgan Asset Management, GoldenTree Asset Management, NASDAQ, Prudential Insurance, AT&T Capital Corporation, Lehman Brothers, Ernst & Young, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Demonstrating his commitment to the principles and values of Agile Software Engineering, Anthony is a recognized SAFe® version 5 Program Consultant and holds many of the most challenging and difficult to attain Agile certifications. His practice is grounded in Agile Frameworks as he leads clients to implement Scrum, Kanban, Scrum with Kanban, Scaled Scrum with Nexus, and Scaled Agile Framework. He believes in using the framework that best fits the organization's cultural and business direction while maintaining disciplined processes.

Tony Amos

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