Agile Culture: A Newbie’s Cry for Help

Like many of you, I am from a traditional waterfall background. So when I began to read blogs about Agile, I began to think that I had unknowingly crossed the border into another country, where people did things differently and words were used in different ways.

Lost in Translation

The questions I had about Agile that were already buzzing around in my head were complicated by the recent PMI poll on the use of Agile:
Does your organization invest in Agile project management methodologies?

The poll found that:

  • 45% said they used Agile methodologies
  • 36% said they did not use Agile methodologies
  • 9% said not yet
  • 9% said they did not know what Agile was

Being a stickler for definitions, I wondered what PMI meant by Agile and whether they defined it before asking the poll question. For my own part, I could probably come up with some examples in my career where teams were agile in delivering software, but was that really Agile?

Culture Gap

Imagine my relief when I saw Jeff Patton’s post on “Agile Development is more culture than process” over at AgileProductDesign.com. I thought to myself as I read through the post, this explains why I always feel like I’m listening to another language when people refer to Agile and use terms I used to use all the time like: requirement, test, working software, and Product Owner. Requirement sounds familiar, but when you take a closer look, the definition is “not exactly” the same.

I am interested in finding out more about agile development. Like any good tourist, I get the feeling that at a minimum, I will need the following aids to help me learn more:

  1. A good map or overview of the country
  2. A solid list of Dos and Don’ts
  3. Basic understanding of the language so I don’t ask for a ride to the airport and end up sitting on my bags on the side of the road without help.

I will start looking for these travel aids with AgileProductDesign.com, an interesting post from It’s a Delivery Thing and the Agile Manifesto. If any of you know of better starting places, please feel free to let me know. Leave a comment or send me a Tweet. I’m jgodfrey.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Martin,

    I’m not actually starting a new project – still looking for one. I am trying to get a better understanding of what Agile/ Scrum / XP is.

    Thank you for letting me know about the Aliances websites. They were both helpful in putting together my “map”, an initial understanding of what is meant by Agile/ Scrum.

  2. Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for sharing the links about Agile/ Scrum with me. They were helpful in putting together my “map”, a better understanding of Agile/ Scrum/ XP. Everything I learn seems to raise more questions. Thanks to the comments I’ve gotten on this post, I have places to go look for answers.

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