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The Innovators, Imitators And Idiots in Agile

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Last updated on
08th Jun, 2022
29th Apr, 2017
The Innovators, Imitators And Idiots in Agile

In today’s fast expanding business environment, competition between the companies are escalating at an incredible pace. So, it is obvious that there will be a huge pressure on all the companies to adapt to these changing market conditions. The software oriented companies switched to Agile development practices to stay competitive. Agile processes are iterative and all are focused on the rapid delivery of software.

Agile has been there in use for more than 20 years. The instructions and practices introduced by the Agile Manifesto which was published in 2001, are being implemented widely with more success and few failures. Further, these instruction sets as per the rules and practices have evolved, based on the experience of various developers in the Organizations.

These instructions are as follows:

  • Make Users Awesome – Here, the focus should be on helping users to become a successful and acquire the potential to perform the tasks the product supports.
  • Make Safety a Prerequisite – People do not work well unless they have a fear of something. If any employee is terminated due to misconduct, the rest understand the importance of decorum in an organization. Similarly, if safety is present, users trust the software. Safety therefore, is a prerequisite.
  • Experiment and Learn Rapidly – Experimentation never leads to failure. Instead, it helps you learn, since you start applying your knowledge practiclly.
  • Deliver Value Continuously – It is a good thing for organizations that their products are delivering continuously, as continuous deployment leads to unstoppable development. You must remember one thing that, delivering requires careful planning of development, as well as the delivery process.

In a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) interview, Warren Buffett commented on the Agile progression. He talked about things like,  how good ideas turn faulty, if not executed properly. He called this as, “three Is” (3Is).

First comes the Innovators, who see opportunities and create authentic values. You can say that, Innovators are the creators of the things. Next comes the Imitators, who copy the things that have already been created. Imitators sometimes improve the original idea, but some have been found to corrode it. Finally comes the Idiots, whose extreme greed for material gains spoils the innovations. They try to exploit all available resources continuously.

Here is something we cannot ignore. If Imitators and  Idiots overcome the Agile Progress, will it mean danger for us? This may be one major red flag in the upcoming years.

There has been a number of people who are making their way into the movement for Agile revolution. A large section of them are the imitators. This influx is unavoidable as the market demand for agile services and tools has amplified. In this enormous global market, many of the Imitators have improved the Agile process, while some have disfigured the Agile brand altogether. Right now, the main question is, how to keep moving forward in future for Agile movement.

There are four keys to the success of this movement. These are as follows:

  1. Continue to innovate- You should believe in constant innovation. This is the last and best option to stay safe from Imitators and Idiots. Continued Innovation helps to combat the stereotypes the Agile movement may succumb to.
  2.  Balance idealism and practicality- As Agile is spreading to the larger organizations, the focus is on both idealism and practicality. Many executives care about results. Innovation is an obligatory part for every organization. However, there needs to be an optimized mix of innovation and practical knowledge.
  3. Reinvigorate our agile value roots- The Agile values have ‘power’ and ‘attractiveness’. More we work on Agile Values and Agile Practices, better to build solid Agile Foundation. As Peter Block says But without the shift in thinking [about values], methodology becomes technique and practice becomes imitation”.
  4. Unify rather than splinter- Several years ago, Mike Cohn wrote:We want Scrum teams to look beyond the Scrum framework and experience the great ideas found in our sister approaches of lean, Extreme Programming, Kanban, Feature-Driven Development, DSDM, Crystal, Adaptive, and more. To bring Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Lean etc to work together, we need to work together (unite) rather than split.


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