4 Unfortunate Reasons Why Agile Is Close to Being a Fad

A fad, according to Merriam-Webster, is a “practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal.” It’s often a new thing or a revived thing. Yet, Agile is neither a new thing nor a tech thing. Even so, it’s in serious danger of becoming a fad.


1. Agile Isn’t Something You “Do”

There are a number of organizations that claim they “do Agile.” Yet, Agile isn’t something you do. Instead, it’s something you be. When you hear someone claim to be “doing Agile” within their organization, you know you’re listening to someone who just doesn’t get it.

2. Agile Isn’t a Coat of Paint

There are also a number of organizations practicing fake Agile. They take their old way of doing things and just give it an Agile coat of paint. They might even give their method a cute name like “Agilefall.” These fake methods tend to look similar to this:

  • Sprint #1: Feasibility Study
  • Sprint #2: Requirements Definition
  • Sprint #3: Design
  • Sprint #4: Construction

3. Agile Requires More Than Rhetoric

Preaching their own gospel, Agile zealots are rising and cultivating their own discipleships. Yet, they have no personal experience putting the concept and theory into practice. They can only resort to quoting their well-honed gospel when it comes time to move from concept to theory to pragmatic issues.

These are the individuals who care more about extracting money and prestige from the cause than advancing it.

4. Agile Can’t Exist Without a Surefire “Why”

Finally, there are organizational “leaders” who have a shallow, hollow or fabricated answer when asked why an organization should choose Agile. For some, it’s because they were assigned “Agile” as an MBO and they have a box to check on their performance review. For others, they’re simply following the new shiny thing getting all the chatter on social media, in airline magazines, trade rags and books. In other words, management by trend.

The human capacity to detect insincerity is almost immediate. It will be clear which leaders lack a surefire “why.” These leaders will not find true success, just the immediate gratification of checking a box.

It’s Time to Take Agile Seriously

History teaches us that, as teenagers go through clothes, management and technical professions go through new approaches and their accompanying methods and tools. The danger is that when something becomes a fad, important people stop taking it seriously. Useful thinking, methods and tools get relegated to the “been there, done that” trash heap.

Fight back against the trend. To take Agile seriously in your organization, send us a message.