Throwback to years past: “Agile is a wasteland” and other labels

Circa 2020 and a well-known agile manifesto signatory is curating unbecoming labels for the state of agile. Certainly, now that it’s been said, agile is finally dead. After the infamous premature proclamation in 2019, there’s no way that pesky agile can survive this one… right?

Well, there’s an even peskier problem underfoot. See, somehow agile managed to keep going after a different signatory declared it dead in 2014. And that instance followed yet another different signatory burying agile in the ground while the audience at Agile 2009 cautiously listened in.

What a waste of time we engage in. Labels, accusations, assumptions, proclamations. For all the effort and thought we put into such behavior, the state of agile–however you see it from your place within the large-scale system–is unsurprisingly surprising. We’re shaking our fists at the most basic of systems principles (channeling John Gall here):

COMPLEX SYSTEMS EXHIBIT UNEXPECTED BEHAVIOR
combined with
COMPLEX SYSTEMS TEND TO OPPOSE THEIR OWN PROPER FUNCTION

That’s not to say coping or giving up is beneficial. Rather, since a system cares not about your desire for order or function, labeling it has no discernible effect. Agile is how you see it from your position within the system; you might consider, instead, how to use it wisely.

Or, if you’d prefer a gentle nudge, consider this throwback from 2015 and work with patterns, rather than labels, accusations, assumptions, or proclamations.

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