Lately I’ve seen a couple of doom scenario’s scetched out for agile. It seems agile is dead or at least dying at the hand of the PMI. I don’t want to bash the authors of these articles. I respect them and agree with most of their arguments but not with their conclusions. Agile is changing, sure, but it’s not dying, we’re all about embracing change right?
At it’s core agile isn’t a process or a methodology, it’s a set of principles with a framework of practices to support them. One of the most important principles is about change, not just in our requirements but in our process, our organization and even in change itself. Agile is about improving your process, trying out new things checking them against our principles and core values and keeping what works.
Agile has never stopped evolving. We’ve been incorporating ideas from other fields into our set of practices like kanban and self organizing teams. And we’ve been trying out new ideas, we’re going from TDD to BDD, we’re branching out into agile software architecture with SOLID principles and emergent design. One thing that’s important to notice is that many of the new ideas in agile aren’t actually very new and come from other area’s.
With that in mind it’s not really strange to see agile practices being taken up in other environments too. Not every organization is willing or able to support the constant evolution required for real agile implementations so they do the next best thing and pick up our established ideas and practices. We’ve been supporting this ourselves for some time by supplying pre-packaged sets of practices in the form of Scrum, DSDM or Xp frameworks. And forces outside the agile community have been doing this too. Agile Rup has been around for some time and now the PMI is also picking up agile ideas.
It’s easy to bash these agile hybrids as not being true to ‘our’ principles and somehow inferior and dangerous to ‘our’ movement. But I think the real danger comes from somewhere else.
The real danger is stagnation. If we start rejecting ideas because of where they come from we start slowing down. Don’t bash the PMI because they use our practices out of context but learn from them just like they are learning from us. Take what we can use and grow. Don’t let agile become the bearded conservative old fart that we set out to replace.