Scrum, XP, etc. don’t work for everyone. Does this mean that Agile does not work for everyone? Well, if Agile is a process, the answer is yes. But if Agile is a set of principles, the answer is clearly no.
Principles are guides to help you create better process.
Bill Tozier (the taller one in the picture) pushed my buttons by leaving this excellent comment:
Pushing a little harder: I'm not sure but I think that there is often some set of circumstances for which any strategy will outperform any other. Some folks I know piss people off when they point out that Extreme Programming or "Agile" (whatever that is supposed to be) cannot be better in all cases.
It's a useful exercise to objectively explore realistic business cases where being (or becoming) "agile" or "lean" are bad ideas. There's nothing new in what we do, and we are not revolutionaries except insofar as we can understand more cases of the real world and arguably communicate them better.
The 21st century still involves moving metal objects around, and communication networks don't ensure efficient communication, and archives don't ensure knowledge capture, and politics don't transform smoothly into communitarian panarchy. And that's as it should be.
Nothing technological, cultural, social, or even philosophical happened after 2000, that didn't have a counterpart in 1900. Telegraphy and telephony and electrification and corporatization and stuff made Scientific Management possible... why should not our latest, super-enhanced versions of the same stuff not make Super-scientific Management the next big craze?
Or, shorter version: Every advantage from doing things "differently", for any difference, must have risks as well. And lacking universal adoption of the difference, there must be cases where these costs outweigh the benefits.
Posted by: Bill Tozier
Here is my reply:
Nothing is universally applicable. In fact, we don't presuppose any methodology is universally applicable.
We use principles to guide the creation of processes that apply to specific realities. Different teams require different processes.
Scrum or XP are fairly rigid in the out-of-the-box application. This ridigity is what people are bucking against - this one-size-fits-all approach.
The principles behind Agile - dynamic teams, frequent and short group meetings, ritualized communication, limiting work in progress - are all, I believe, universally applicable.
Some groups will want time boxed work-limiting mechanisms, others will be better suited for a kanban capacity style limitation. In the end, the principle is what needs to be kept in mind, and not the dogmatic application some guy invented for his particular project.
Blogged at My House before a day of errand running in Seattle, WA