There Are No New Ideas In Agile

Those of you who have read my articles on Ancient Agile will know that I think that the Agile ideas and principles exist thousands of years into our racial past.

What makes a great agile implementation?

The key attributes I think I see in great Agile implementations are:

  • Continuous improvement
  • Evidence-based decisions
  • Continuous Quality focus
  • Continuous delivery of value
  • Rapid delivery of value
  • Disciplined processes
  • Lower risk deployment
  • Tight product ownership
  • Visual management
  • One size does not fit all
  • Fail early
  • Very little crunch time

Of those, I think that the most important are continuous improvement and evidence-based decisions. In fact, I firmly believe that this two ideas will eventually lead to the retirement of Scrum, DSDM, Extreme Programming etc. As we learn more, we will change and improve. That which survives will be that which adapts best to change!

Bruce Lee & Agile

A less obvious source of Agile ideas comes from the 1970’s movie star and martial artist, Bruce Lee. As a martial artist, I definitely feel that Bruce’s greatest acheivments were in the field of martial arts rather than in his movie performances. His practical, adaptive, ever-learning approach to martial arts embodies the Agile spirit. Rather than explain it myself, why not read the man’s words for yourself!

“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.”

Bruce Lee

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”

Bruce Lee

“Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”

Bruce Lee

“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

Bruce Lee (dialogue from Longstreet)

Bruce Lee knew about Agile in the 1970s. It was his guiding philosophy of life. There are no new ideas in Agile.

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