All around us, Scrum and Agile are used, misused, and abused. How should we feel about that?

Good or bad in our lives is somewhat up to us …

Recently I’ve written a fair amount about Scrum and “Agile” going wrong. See the success category for links. While deploring the suffering that people have experienced in the name of these ideas, I’ve been suggesting that, in some very real sense, people are not “doing it right”. I get that this gets me accused of blaming the victim, or of playing the No True Scotsman fallacy.

My intention is to do neither: it’s just that I believe that people have the ability to affect their situation and that when they live in an Oppressive Agile situation, they’d do well to exercise some agency. If we do not act, we’ll still be acted upon, and we’ll be swept along with the forces around us. We can at least try to swim, and I believe that we should do so.

And, in the end, as I used to like to say in my long-past poetic days, we are all alone together. Everything in society, I believe, is the result of the things we do as individuals.1

Die in a fire?

Some of the critics want Scrum to “die in a fire” and post other articles about how Scrum, or “Agile”, or XP, or whatever, are inherently bad ideas because they are so often misused or abused. Or because the author wants to work in some other way than they were “coerced” into working in the name of whatever method should be condemned to perdition. Or because people who try to help people are just in it for the money. Or because some guy said something in a talk, or wrote an article, and he’s an *ssh*l*.

I’ve been in the “Agile” thing since it became a thing. I got into it because I found that the ideas generally worked and I felt they were valuable. At the time, I had a long record of getting good jobs, so I was not particularly motivated by money. I do, in fact, sometimes charge for my services, but my interest in “Agile” came from passion and excitement, not from the desire to fill my pockets.

Believe that, or don’t. I don’t really care. I do feel quite sure that there are people who were drawn to the market because of the money. Maybe that’s bad: I’m not sure. I do know very many of the people who work in the area, and few of them seem to have money as their primary motivation. They seem to be trying to do a good job of helping people.

I’d like to think that most people are trying to do a good job …

  1. Well, yes, Bill, there’s also weather, meteors, and the magical actions of demons. As these cannot be parsed or much altered, I think it all comes down to what we do, you and I and that other person over there.