Monday, June 04, 2007


Stop the abuse of the word Agile within large enterprises!

Do you or know of someone who loves to abuse words that in the past have had strong meaning but nowadays are meaningless? Are you one of those enterprisey folks who can't tell the difference between management and leadership, have resorted to calling anything new you run across as innovation and believe that governance is not about changing behavior but that process is viable substitute for competence as evangelized by many Indian outsourcing firms?

Normally, when folks talk about agility, they tend to refer to the Agile Manifesto yet this feels somehow incomplete and is not written in away that every idiot living in the asylum we refer to as the enterprise will convince themselves that they adhere to the message when reality is vastly different.

I ran across the following quote: Things you use often should be easy to find. Things you do often should be easy to do. which is more difficult for abusers of the word agile to distort the meaning. In looking at this quote one can figure out that enterprise architects are probably the least agile demographic within the enterprise.

Consider the first phrase of things you use often should be easy to find yet I suspect that most of us have encouraged or at least permitted the proliferation of Microsoft Sharepoint. Enterprise architects are known for the publish or perish mindset but what good is it if folks can't even find it.

The second phrase is even more telling. Consider the phrase: things you do often should be easy to do. Well, it is the job of IT to deliver valuable working software to the business yet we certainly haven't made this easier. Consider the cause and effects of things such as outsourcing, time tracking and of course our wonderful IT governance models that simply didn't exist years ago when it was easier to get something done.

The next time you run across a person abusing the word agile, please ask them to explain their definition and I guarantee they will turn into bumbling idiots. Agile is never prescriptive and is meant as a set of values which most enterprise architects couldn't tell you what their own IT department set of values are...

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