Will Management Succeed at Killing Agile?
And can true leadership save it?
If one believes the latest cover story from the leader of promoting management trends, The Harvard Business Review, Agile is both everywhere and can be used for everything. Considering the business that I am in, I should be pretty happy as well. But I’m not. HBR’s Agile at Scale looks more like a tombstone to me.
The HBR article is touting the latest management-fad version of Agile, Agile as Anything Management Wants. Their Agile is all about dozens of random organizational changes that are labeled “Agile,” and are cited as proof of Agile’s greatness. Someone says they are doing or being Agile? Ipso facto, they must be.
Agile as Anything Management Wants is bad Agile, and it is not only destroying the good Agile, but is also destroying a moment in which Agile might have actually made things better…truly better.
There are actually many styles of Agile out there, but they are very different. There was one that emerged naturally through the 1980’s, which then exploded as a profoundly powerful management technique in 2001. This peak moment coincided with many learnings on organizations and human behavior from the previous 50 years.