on agile

agile (little a, always little a) is't bad, it shouldn't be a dirty word. it's an elastic collection of values, principles, and practices for people to freely pick and choose from as they see fit, to help us find ways of working well together.

why does it have a bad reputation? the freely picking and choosing practices bit often goes out the window. any process, and agile is no exception, can be co-opted by people with power who want to use it as a means of centralizing authority and control. such people can simply declare "these are the agile practices", officialize it with a name like Scrum, professionalize it with a certification authority, enclose on the process in some limited domain (like a company), and use it to do violence against workers.

i think where agile goes wrong is not agile, but poisoned culture and poisoned ideas about workplace hierarchy. there is something to be said for the fact that agile doesn't protect against the above enclosure, but can it? i think that's a different problem domain, addressed by building personal, trusting relationships and structuring organizations legally to protect one another (like say, co-ops).

such to say, let's not lose sight of our process' fungibility. it serves Us not the other way around. but we probably do need a structure.