What’s Agile? The word itself sounds upbeat, fast, and flexible. In fact, it sounds agile. No wonder almost every company and person in the known world today declares that it “Does Agile.” The concept has been accepted and embraced almost universally.
So out of that set of “almost all companies” how many actually practice Agile? 60%? 30%? .001%? Like with most anything, it depends on how you define the concept. But in my experience the answer is in the lower range. That’s not necessarily bad. Misusing the word Agile doesn’t necessarily mean bad practices are threatening civilization.
I have heard a lot of people over the past ten years say “My company says it does Agile but they don’t know what they’re talking about.” That can be annoying to someone who is well versed in Agile methodology. Nevertheless, implementing a process that makes you more effective is to be encouraged, even if you are misusing a popular corporate-IT buzzword to accomplish it. Agile has its place. Hybrids of Agile methodology (“take-what-you-need-and-discard-the-rest”) have their place too, in my opinion. And their place is legion.
The important thing is that whatever patched-together-Frankenstein version of Agile a company employs, as long as it makes things work smoother, faster, in a flexible adapt-fast-to-new-facts kind of atmosphere, without compromising quality-control within process, then go for it. Call me anything you want, just don’t call me late for dinner (old joke).
Anyway, if your process borrows methods and ideas from Agile methodology, and if it fits in your project’s context, it feels Agile, and it really works, though it be not technically Agile methodology, then damn the torpedoes and call it what you will. I wouldn’t sweat the technicalities of the recipe if the casserole comes out yummy (and everyone is buying it). That’s my take on mixed metaphors and a footloose footnote in the perfectionist’s Agile Cookbook.