Agility is relative

October 19, 2021

I hear a lot of people talking about whether a company, a team, a practice, or an idea “is agile.”

“Spotify is agile.” “The database team is not agile.” Is trunk-based development agile?”

This is a lot like talking about whether a team, company, practice, or idea “is big.”

Agility only exists in relation to another thing.

Spotify, the database team, and pull requests cannot be agile in isolation.

They can only be agile in relation to something else.

Is Spotify more agile than Google? Could it become more agile than it is today?

Is the database team more or less agile than the frontend team? Can either team become more agile than they are now?

Would trunk-based development be more agile than what we’re doing today? Could we do something else that’s more agile than trunk-based development?

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