Did McKinsey just kill Agile?

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

I was enraged when I saw McKinsey advocating an agile transformation office since it effectively signals the death of agile as I know and appreciate it. It’s not that being agile is ineffective. Agile and the agile movement have had enormous success. They’ve been a driving force behind firms like Facebook, AirBnB, and a slew of other successful enterprises. Many firms have excelled in technology and other areas of business, but agility is no longer what it once was. Agile was initially offered as a method of managing work and organizing software development teams. It prioritizes customer dialogue over contract negotiation, people over procedures, adaptability over rigidity, and outcomes over documentation for firms that use it. It became a competitive advantage for those who employed it. It became a common source of reference and a far more productive manner of working.

The prosperity of the individuals and businesses who use it is dependent on the success of the adoption of agile by big publicly traded firms fueled its appeal and uptake in organizations of all shapes and sizes throughout the world. tiny businesses Banks and mining companies They’ve all embraced, or attempted to adopt, agile in some shape or another, but agile’s success and popularity have also been its undoing. Over the last two years, agility has been butchered in a downward spiral. Agile has devolved from a common set of values and principles to a meaningless, overused buzzword that can be applied to practically any aspect of how a company operates. Recall McKinsey’s advocacy of the agile transformation office. The “agile transformation office” is a needless rebranding of the programme management office that contradicts the core concepts of agile. Every point McKinsey lists as a key difference between an agile transformation office and a programme management office is nearly an exact description of a programme management office, and it employs a slew of practices that directly contradict some of the fundamental principles of agile transformation offices.

Let’s take a look at a few. For example, an office that, first and foremost, establishes overarching strategy, analyzes progress, and sets minimal requirements directly opposes the concepts of self-organizing teams in the agile manifesto and very likely contradicts people over process in practice. McKinsey is not alone in this. Consider PwC’s agile enterprise. When you get to the core of agile and the lingo, it actually delivers little more than some basic common sense business statements, like organizations that thrive on meeting customer requirements, and better technology gives you better efficiency. I’m not sure what this has to do with Agile. I’m not sure how it’s unique to Agile. I’m not sure, but I don’t want to single out McKinsey and PWC. We’re all at fault in this situation. The promotion of these notions put out by McKinsey and PWC is a sign of the agile movement’s terminal phases. To me, the last stage began when one of the pioneers of agile, Dave Thomas, delivered a presentation headlined “Agile is Dead,” and it’s been a slow type of downhill slope ever since. Others have said it’s the beginning of the end for them, but the dates all seem to match up around 2015, so we’ll do it there now.

When I say McKinsey and PWC are not alone, and they’re a bit of a symptom, the other thing is that when you look at job applications or job applicants, you almost have to delete the word “agile” from the resume and probe deeper as to what they’re actually saying because it just appears in so many different concepts and contexts that it means so many different things to so many people. Another issue is that most firms go out of their way to demonstrate their agility. They sell this to potential staff, shareholders, and customers to the point where it’s very unclear what’s going on and you have to delve beyond the surface to find out whether those principles are truly being accepted and where those values are being lived now. In practice, what does this mean? So, what can you take away from this? To begin with, the most important thing you can take away is that the term “agile” no longer has any significance. As I previously stated, whether it is on a job candidate, a corporation stating what they do, or a team explaining what they do, we must find additional ways to evaluate whether the core ideals and principles of agile are being applied by the team. You must examine your behaviors, mindsets, and procedures more closely.

So, just a refresher on the responsibilities and structures that an organization or team must adhere to in order to determine whether agile is being implemented in its original form, a derivative or altered form, or not at all. The “agile manifesto values principles’’ were written by a group of self-described organizational anarchists at a ski resort in Utah in February 2001, which I adore from the software business. The agile manifesto, which is simply here, gave rise to the agile movement, a movement that two decades later promoted the adoption of agile principles to produce better software, and the movement was successful. The core ideas and ideals of agile are still table stakes for every organization, every firm, and most employees, but the degree to which an organization applies agile is now more about tiny increments of progress and productivity rather than a revolutionary game changer. The industry’s problem and opportunity is to go beyond the abuse of agile and actually focus on the core concepts and values and how they fit in the context of your firm, business, and organization. Beyond agile, there is also the possibility of looking for other sources of competitive advantage in terms of working practices and attitudes.



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