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  • Writer's pictureThomas Meloche

Agile Isn't Really Good for All Projects

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

On more than a few occasions people have said to me, “You know agile isn’t really good for all projects.”

I respond, “So I've heard, tell me about your experience?”

#Agile has a soft and squishy definition. I've learned not to assume I know what they are talking about.

When someone says "Agile isn't good for all projects," they are not attacking me, nor agile. They are simply sharing their view of the term agile. This is a function of their unique life experiences. Their comment can become a delightful opportunity to see the world through their eyes.

So #listen...

I've heard examples of dozens of different types of projects people think would not be a good choice for agile: embedded controllers, Mars landers, giant enterprise-wide data ports, scientific instruments, etc. It is fun to hear about their projects, their concerns, and their personal insights on process and work.

Frequently when we talk, it turns out they do desire:

* Shorter cycles times

* Prioritized work queues

* Regular demonstrations of working solutions

* Incremental delivery

* Feedback * Transparency * Continuous improvement

How about that?

What do I care about the agile label. We created Menlo Innovations and The Menlo Way before the agile word was even coined. The word isn't important. But items listed above are important. There is no need to quibble about labels. They can call doing these things whatever they like.

When you hear, “You know agile really isn’t good for all projects,” let that start, not stop, the conversation.

"So I've heard, tell me about your experience."


“Take input from reality and respond to it.” –Kent Beck's definition of Agile. I like Kent's definition.

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