I still want my agile back

A dialogue with a colleague

Jefferey Cave
13 min readJan 10


Inviting Radical Candor (Modern Agile, Psychological Safety Cheat Sheet, Creative Commons)

It’s the end of 2022 and I’m still working with companies to implement anything resembling Agile and XP development processes. Over the years, I’ve worked with some excellent teams, and many times I’ve worked with companies that pay lip service to the ideas, but don’t take any of the actions.

They recite the buzzwords, and catchphrases, but don’t actually do the things.

I’ve best heard it described as Waterfall in Sprints.

Recently I was reminded of some excellent articles on this I read around 2015 and started to have a conversation with myself regarding the matter. Yes, I talk to myself, because sometimes that’s the only way to have an intelligent conversation.

It occurred to me that Dialogues are a time-honoured publishing format and while I’m no Plato…

💂 Jeff —

I’m currently taking the corporate course in “agile” and every lecture leaves me fuming.

I want my agile back

Alice —

I really only know Agile from some theoretical academic classes from my college days. Whenever I’ve been told we are running in “agile” mode, it has only ever meant “busy” and “hectic”

💂 Jeff —

I lived it in the early days of the 2000s, implemented it at my small company, and debated and discussed the literature with some of the greats. It’s funny that you mention “busy” and “hectic” since that’s almost straight from one of the articles I sent you.

Are we tired of seeing “sprints” and “iterations” used as ways to pressure people into working harder and longer

— Tim Ottinger, I want agile back



Jefferey Cave

I’m interested in the beauty of data and complex systems. I use story telling to help others see that beauty. https://www.buymeacoffee.com/jeffereycave