As Agile evolves and becomes an household name in the corporate world many companies tend to go along the ride without even considering why should they or even if they should do it at all.
In the very beginning of each of my workshops I usually ask each attendee why are they there. One of the most common answers is “I was told to come by management”. My follow up tends to be “Why aren’t they here?” and that always lead to the typical “They’ve heard about Agile and are curious, so I was sent to learn about Scrum and see if it fits.”. This is when all my years in meditation kick in and I remain calm (at least on the outside) while providing the best peaceful zen advice. “Agile is a state of mind. One simply does not look at it as a piece of software or tool. You must change your company’s culture to embrace it. It’s not enough just to try Scrum or put a board on the wall.”.
By now half of the attendees are scratching their heads and wondering if they are in the right place. I then explain that we’re in an Agile workshop, not a Scrum or Kanban workshop. Yes, we will talk a bit about that, amongst other things such as Extreme Programming, Pommodoro, Story Mapping, Design Thinking, etc. but the main focus is to understand what it means to be Agile.
After some years facilitating such workshops I come to wonder if we, agilists, when confronted with “customers” who only want to implement/impose Scrum or any other framework or methodology regardless of what it truly encompasses should turn them away? Besides the part where we breathe deeply and summon all our gods and goddesses, keep our groove and avoid beating them senseless, and of course, aside the educational aspect when we provide some valuable info on what is Agile, should we allow them to continue that path of destroying Agile’s reputation but perpetuating the buzz and not embracing it properly? Are we currently help Agile to evolve or are we allowing companies to abuse the manifesto and everything it means?
Honestly I am considering including a disclaimer in my workshop summary stating something like: “If you are looking for a way to implement Scrum in your teams without embracing the mindset, this is NOT the workshop for you.”
I would love to ear from you about this topic. What do you think we should do to prevent becoming part of the problem?