Make Me Burger Agile Fast !!

Should Agile Be Served Like A Fast Food Burger

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There have been several documentaries done over the past few years about diet. What we should or should not consume. One that really caused a paradigm shift to America’s eating conscience, was the independent film about one mans 30 day eating journey on only fast food. This film came rushing back to my thoughts when I began my transformation reflections. A repetitive theme came about, ‘make us agile fast’. Can agile be done faster, can you make us, what it took you years to be – in a month. To some this notion would seem preposterous.  However my friends it was an actual expectation.  Sharing with peers, informed me that it seemed to be a new customer cry, ‘Burger My Agile Please’

All I could think was, ‘I will take my Agile between a Scrum bun with a slice of Lean’. We are being asked to deliver McDonalds Agile. Truth is, it goes against everything we hold dear. 


Sustainability, (a personal favorite) – How can you sustain a microwave baked cake. After a while it just goes rock hard and it’s merely a simile of a cake. Although microwaves are somewhat of a necessary evil, they exist because society as we know it,  choose to forego healthy sustenance for fast food, and deal with the knock on affects later.   Can we just go along for the ride under the guise that we are giving the customer what they want. Of course it would mean we can fit more gigs into a year and raise our bottom line, just that little bit more. In that thought process we become rather like the fast food industry, which encourages poor eating choices for its own profit because, ‘it’s what the customer wants’.

An organization that goes down the fast food Agile root, risks contracting fatal agile killing diseases, that will lie beneath the surface attacking the heart of Agile. Once the heart is comprised, it is only a matter of time before the whole body is comprised.  Without emergency intervention at the right time the horrid outcome is fatal, death. 

Then what must we do to champion the life of the ‘Agile Heart?’ Education, outreach, roadshows, blogs and COURAGE.  When asked to microwave agile for a customer say No. Don’t be rude or abrupt, demonstrate caring, give wise counsel and explain. Agile is not methodology. You just can’t do agile, you either heed the values and principles or you don’t.  It most defiantly is not, do this, do that and then; ‘Ba bing’, your agile. It’s about embracing a set of beliefs and values that organically come alive within your consciousness. These beliefs fill you with passion to interact, collaborate and develop first class software that delivers measurable value to your customer.  The frameworks like scrum, kanban, lean facilitate your passion in an efficient way that supports your new found agile beliefs and value. You keep you Agile body healthy by these three core exercises. Inspect, Adapt & Do. You need as many repetitions as necessary to keep you Agile heart strong and healthy. 

I often say to students and clients that agile is a religion formed by people who wanted something different from the pressured norms of waterfall. They were technology pilgrims. 

I can hear those of you saying we have to meet the demand or become extinct. I say why not be the Wholefoods or Sprouts, why must we become another McDonald Franchise?  I would say that dinosaurs never really disappeared they merely evolved and adapted to fit their environments. Agile evolution should never take us away from our values. There are still people out there who have healthy home cooked meals, that consist of  green vegetables that aren’t smothered in butter, but steamed.  

The first part of preparing an organization for embracing an agile culture, demands so much attention and takes time. Even when a company is ready to embrace it and is excited, they have no idea what is down stream. When it hits they recoil and often shut down. ‘Burger My Agile Please‘, is not equipped to deal with this.

Working Software,  lets say working teams. The team itself has to go through a natural development cycle of Forming, Storming, Norming etc.  If we the Agile Professional are inserted, it is possible to prop them up so they look like they are standing and being self-organizing. But once we walk out the door and say, you have your team follow these steps, Next! They fall over, flat because they had not had the time to form roots to enable them to be what they were appearing to be while we were there to prop them up..

Let’s hit the bulls eye target – If your clients wants to be ‘Triple Burger Up Sized Agile ,’do you support that mindset? Do you give it to them, even though you know its bad for the companies health? 

Satisfying the customer is our primary objective…some of you say ‘Yes’, others say ‘Yes But’, and then there are those of you who sit at, ‘Welll…….llll. ???‘ with question marks.

Then how do we achieve a balance?  If you have fried chicken you have to have a salad on the side.  No cake and ice-cream, have fruit?  The answer in the end will lay with each one of us, who are out there on the road helping clients adopt the agile frameworks.  It will be with those of us out there teaching the agile practitioners of tomorrow.

In your own good conscious, you and I must determine what our message will be. If you have watched the ‘Super Size Me’ movie, I think your answer should be; I will have a fresh tossed salad, and let me teach you how to eat a healthy balanced meal. 

If not, I guess we will have to find out were you’ve been and run an emergency intervention, to save that Agile Heart from a fatal end.  

Healthy balanced Agile is always best!



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