Would you believe me when I wrote, “Fitness is Dead”?
What if I wrote, “The Corruption of Fitness” or “Why Fitness Has Failed”? Would that make sense to you?
Physical fitness is a state of well-being and the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. It is generally achieved through correct nutrition, exercise, hygiene, and rest. Fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist diseases, and to meet emergency situations. (Adapted from: Wikipedia)
In my opinion, agility is to the business what fitness is to the human body.
Let’s re-phrase the Wikipedia description:
Organizational agility is a state of well-being and the ability to perform aspects of competition and collaboration. It is generally achieved through good practices, purpose, and values. Agility is considered a measure of the organization’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work activities, to be healthy, to resist dysfunctional behaviors, and to meet emergency situations.
Historically, within the context of software development, the word Agile is used to refer to concepts such as “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” and “Responding to change over following a plan”, among others. For me, “responding to change” has roughly the same meaning as “ability to perform”. We can discuss for hours what the creators of the Agile manifesto meant exactly, but I don’t find that very interesting.
Fact is, most teams are doing Scrum wrong; plenty of people misapply Kanban; and most organizations have no idea how to introduce Management 3.0 practices. But that’s nothing new. Most people are doing yoga wrong; plenty of people misapply workout exercises; and most have no idea how to develop a good running form. Not understanding how to become healthy is part of being human. That doesn’t mean we can discard fitness as “dead”. The concept of fitness (yoga, workouts, running, swimming, etc.) is fine. It’s human beings not applying healthy practices who might soon be dead.
With Agile it’s the same. I’m not very interested in articles such as “Agile is Dead“, “The Corruption of Agile” or “Why Agile Has Failed“. Sure, you can replace Agile with agility, but changing the use of one word is not going to address a fundamental problem in organizations. The concept of agility is fine. Agile is not dead. But organizations misapplying good agile practices might be very soon.