Why is everyone saying Agile is dead?

by | Feb 24, 2020




This article came across my screen a little while ago. The exciting part was that it came in after my post on SDDC. An interesting coincidence.

Let’s take a look at this article.

Upon initial read, it does not bode well for the rest of the read. Yes when people talk about agile they use capital A. Going to Dave Thomas, one of the founders of the Agile Software Delivery Manifesto, he goes into the fact that the word agile is not being used as it should in his talk in 2015: Agile is Dead. His focus was more on getting the work done and not focusing on the word “Agile” because it is missing the mark on how to get the job done. So there are some similarities, and I would agree that it isn’t going as well as everyone thought. Let’s continue.

The next section doesn’t get any better. Yes, there is an issue with agile delivery, and there are stats that can show the struggles. In Canada, over 80% of development shops that state they are using agile methods are in adopting or maturing phases. With the “fail fast” mentality and continuous improvement mindsets, that number should be much lower. There are multiple varying reasons as to why it is not going well. Let’s continue.

Can’t scale agile development, where the problem lies in Scrum. It seems here that they are not looking at the root cause of the problem. Why is Scrum the problem with scaling? It is a sound methodology; it works and gets the job done. Maybe there is a deeper-rooted issue with why the scaling does not work. There are plenty of posts like this stating that agile doesn’t work. Yet there are organizations out there that are very successful with it. If it is a methodology and mindset that is failing, then it would not work at all for everyone.


The next section seems a bit much. I will not spend time on this. There is an issue overall with software development and gender diversity. To implicitly point to problems in agile development to that is again covering up a symptom and not the root cause.

That is it; there is talk of using other methods to develop code with no examples. As a former leader of departments and divisions, I always told my staff that if they are about to bring up a problem, they should have a couple of potential solutions to start a discussion. This article is more of a letter of giving up.

With that, let me remind you of the conclusion of my SDDC post:

Although this sounds like the final bells are ringing, it is not. Things are coming to light, and there is an evolution that is occurring. Where Life will rise from the ashes and the vision of what things should be, will be.

Senior leadership is beginning to take notice and using things like:

  • Knowledge sharing environments

  • Employee ownership

  • Organization-wide agile methodology instead of focused solely on Software Delivery

  • Appreciating and growing value of everyone

These are just a few things that are beginning to take hold that will shape the cycle from Death to Life. Like most evolutions, this one has taken the time to discover the pain points.

Agile delivery is not dead; it is going through some pains to keep up with technology and organizational changes. As a society, people tend to be more harmful, especially if things do not turn out as expected. Especially if there is little attempt to look deep into what is going on to find the root cause, failures are going to happen, and there will be frustrations. It is overcoming those frustrations, working at what needs to be done and get there. The best analogy one can be a child learning to walk. At that age, they have one goal, walk like everyone else, and they know it can work because they see others doing it. There will be bumps, bruises, and maybe some tears, yet what they don’t have is the willingness to give up. Eventually, they succeed.

In that fashion, organizations should follow suit. There are enough material and expertise out there to ensure the right actions, behaviours and outcomes needed to make agile delivery successful. If that 15% of companies be competent, why can’t yours?