Executives, agile, and religion

An agile consultant explained that the best way to get senior leadership on board with agile is for them to get Scrum certified. Huh?

That’s like saying developers should attend sales methodology training.

That’s like saying you can’t enjoy the meal if you didn’t cook it.

And here’s the interesting question:

Why do senior leaders need to know anything at all about agile?

I’m an agile advocate. I’ve worked with teams who can deliver better results sooner. I love the emphasis on conversations over documents, and the ability to adapt to changing requirements. But that doesn’t mean I think everyone in the company needs to know the mechanics of agile methods.

I realized it this weekend:

Agile is a religion.

I grew up in the Deep South. I know religion. I know about being born again. I know about wanting to spread the good news. And when people of faith get together, they want to talk about their passion, their beliefs; they want to tell their stories. And I’m not just talking about traditional religion here. Other religions include self-help programs, Pragmatic Marketing, exercise, being a vegetarian, and the 125 minutes of awesome that is Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope.

With any passion, unless you too are among the converted, you mostly don’t want to hear it. You’re glad that your friends have found a new way, a new direction; you’re glad that they’re glad. But enough already.

Just like agile.

Here’s what senior leaders need to know about agile.

With agile methods, we can adapt to change quickly (but not constantly).

Management needs to know that you are able to make adjustments to align with business realities. And that’s what agile is really about.

photo credit: Sagolla via photopincc