Agile is cargo-cult worshipping a holy calf!

In this thoughtful article, Cliff Berg exposes a very common truth about the Agile industry:

(You might need to be logged into LinkedIn to read it.)

Interestingly one comment on the posts also starts with the classical:

If only management understood this better! […]

To which my reply was:

Doesn’t that desire… “if only management understood this better”… highlight a monumental failure of this whole industry: the inability to address the concerns of management to a point they feel compelled to pick up real interest? It is not management that is failing. This is a symptom of this industry failing!

This is a central theme for TameFlow: create a common language, understanding and mental model across the entire organization so that “meaningful conversations” among all actors - including “management” - can be held. This way we address the weakest spot of Agile that does not have such a language; and in many instances actually comes across as anti-management (with the heritage of the “Chickens and Pigs” metaphor).

What do you think?

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Our answer to that lies with lightweight and heavy impact top management activities that are core to TF …

Scheduling as a Top management activity
Management by exception
Throughput rate versus CoD3 and ROI for project prioritization
Leading signals of Risk Materialisation
Managing variability
How to improve and learn
Constraint Management (Flow, Process, Work Execution)

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Wow… such a timely article.

Two weeks ago I published an article (I’d appreciate feedback on it) on the same vein, a humble attempt to point at the emperor’s clothes. I think Cliff Berg did a much better job than me! :smile:

I wholeheartedly agree with many of his points. I’ve witnessed many of the pitfalls he described, and sadly I have been instigator of some of them myself. You live and learn as they say.

Ultimately we work for companies that strive to make more money than the competition (unless it is non-profit). Get everyone to understand that, and work towards maximizing profit. Just be aware that blindly optimizing for profit lead to undesired consequences.

I don’t think the answer is to be found in a single approach, whether it is TameFlow, Scrum, SAFe, Kanban etc. I naively believe that there must be some sort of middle way. A place where business and technical stakeholders meet to create solutions that fit each other constraints.

In that sense, the original Agile manifesto is as valid as ever. With its focus on technical excellence and delivery of value to customers. Pity that it has been subverted by both pragmatists and zealots.


Nice parallel about Manifestos … As for Governments being the root of change, let’s not forget that they push for equality of outcome, which is wrong.

They should focus on equality of opportunity, which is agile.

Occidental societies are starting to protect the groups that individuals are part of. But the role of governments is to protect the individual first.

There is this ‘canadian’ that is having international clout about this …