Episode 3

3: Agile is a Cancer


June 7th, 2015

1 hr 1 min 9 secs

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About this Episode


Ryan Ripley and  Zach Bonaker


Zach is an independent consultant who recently posted a provocative article called: “The Subversion of Agile: Agile is a Cancer”. We discussed his post, talked about what the cancer is in the community that needs to be removed about posts from others in the community about the “death of Agile”.

We moved on to what Agile in a business language would look like – agile base patterns – and he shared some ideas that he and Dan Greening have been contemplating. We discussed the 5 pillars of an agile organization, which include:

  1. Measure economic progress
  2. Experiment
  3. Limit work in progress
  4. Embrace collective responsibility
  5. Solve systemic problems

From there the discussion pivoted to top down vs. bottom up agile transformations. We discuss how they work, the pitfalls of each, and our personal experiences with trying to help organizations adopt agile. Of course I found a way to bring up agile management. We added a few more books to Don’s book club, talked about the difficulty of filling the role of the product owner, and then…called it a night.

Zach was a great guest who I hope becomes a regular contributor to the podcast. He recently posted a follow-up to his original post called “Agile Cancer: Stop Whining and Cure It” which has expanded the conversation, set off a few flame wars, and provoked some important conversations about our industry.

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