Agile isn't a religion

April 24, 2021

It shouldn’t require stating, but Agile isn’t a religion.

Yet many people tend to treat it as such. I’ve heard countless discussions shut down with a phrase like “But that’s not agile.” Or “That’s not the Scrum way.” Or “but we use Kanban here.”

If you’re practicing a religion, these sorts of finalizing phrases may be appropriate in some cases (or not—I leave that debate up to the practitioners of each religion). But it certainly has no place among agile practitioners, as far as I’m concerned.

The “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” was written by some smart guys, but not by any diety. The Scrum guide was written by some of the same smart guys. If we elevate either of these documents (or any other) to the status of unalterable scripture, we’re missing the point that’s even embedded in the name: Agility.

Take these documents as helpful, but imperfect guides. And next time someone (maybe you) tries to shut down a conversation with “but that’s not agile”, take a step back, and consider how the conversation could be approached with true agility.

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