2021-11-27 agility

Re-thinking agility with Allen Holub

I’ve recently been lucky to stumble into one of GOTO videos on youtube with Robert C. Martin which I am quite familiar with, and Allen Holub, whom I had never heard of. During their talk, I had been introduced to a set of alternative ideas of how a company that practices agility should act.

After watching that video, I then went on a rabbit hole to learn more about Allen’s vision towards agility.


What motivated me to pursue a better understanding of Allen’s ideas is the number of times I had been involved in teams, projects, and companies who could have done much better had they been practicing agility, rather than rigidity.
Without further ado, here are the materials that have been helping me re-thinking agility:

A Path to Better Programming • Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin & Allen Holub • GOTO 2021

Join a high level overview of best practices and wise words on how programming should be approached from Uncle Bob, author of “Clean Code,” and Allen Holub, software architect and agile coach. They cover some of the existing guides that can help you become a better programmer and explore how books and current trends are shaping the software landscape.

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, Scrum is Agile • Allen Holub • GOTO 2020

A few years ago, the death of agile was a meme. Agile was (and is still) being supplanted by “Dark Agile”, an Agile in name only, with few of the benefits of the real thing. In a way, things have gotten worse. Agile has arisen as a zombie, eating the brains of the corporate world. “Dark Agile” flies in the face of basic principles, and does active damage.

The Death of Agile (Allen Holub)

At the very top of the Agile Manifesto is the statement “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Nonetheless, the word “agile” has come to mean rigid adherence to both process and the tools that support that process. Moreover, many of these processes are incomplete or ineffective. Scrum is particularly problematic.

#NoEstimates (Allen Holub)

This keynote presents my (and many other’s) thinking about #NoEstimates. It argues that estimation is a bad thing, particularly in the Agile world, and presents ways to plan that don’t involve estimation.

Shift-M/44: Allen Holub on management, motivation, and estimations

Agile vs. Agility with Allen Holub - Mob Mentality Show

Chris Lucian and Austin Chadwick discuss all things agile and product development from a mob programming perspective. In this episode we have a stimulating discussion with Allen Holub (https://twitter.com/allenholub) hitting a range of topics including mob programming in-person vs. remote, Agile vs. agility, organizational change, and Scrum, SAFE, & certs, oh my!

Personal takeaways (ongoing)

  • Scrum or any other set of processes does not imply agility
  • Within a company that practices agility, different teams may adopt different processes that enable them to generate value for the customers, users, and ultimately the company.
  • In the process of adopting agility, a company might lose a few roles due to the auto-sufficiency and autonomy of each team, and its members.
  • In an ever-expanding remote world, we ought to beware of how it impacts collaboration
  • To think about: What value do estimations provide to a team and/or a company?
  • Some companies, the ones that provide software development services, might be legally prevented from practicing agility due to the nature of the agreements with their customers.
  • To think about: Agile industrial complex
  • Regardless of the set of processes a team has been practicing, the retrospective ought to be taken seriously because it opens a door for re-evaluation of what’s not working.
  • To think about: Mob programming
  • … more takeaways to come, because I am planning to re-watch some of these videos, and I want to increase the depth of my knowledge about agility.