Recently Asitha Rodrigo, one of our Value, Flow, Quality customers drew attention to people using Agile as a noun rather than as an adverb. He’s right to point out that in using Agile as a label, many teams avoid looking more critically at their own behaviour. We don’t need to break our work down into smaller chunks or deliver it early – we do Agile! Just as bad is the team who uses ‘Waterfall’ as an excuse to justify their late delivery (which in any case consists more of documentation than working software).
It’s a good point. Albeit, we’re allowing ourselves a quick moment of pedantry – we believe that Agile is an adjective, not an adverb! However, what has become increasingly clear to me, is that using Agile or Waterfall as a noun is often an indication of a problem. In this regard, Asitha pinpoints a significant challenge to the way we successfully deliver IT.
Simply, doing Agile or Waterfall is not the aim. These are terms which hide our real performance, hide opportunities to find ways of improving and do damage to our grammer.