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  • Writer's pictureAstutely Obtuse Staff Writer

Beyond Agile: Part 0 | Before We Start

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

I would like to register a complaint with the Department of Standardization of Business Best Practices, Pomposity, and Cursed Fro-Yo Shops International.

Your pushing of the new hotness, you know, the new innovative way of doing things changes far too frequently, while simultaneously not changing frequently enough. As a snarky bitch, it makes it very difficult to express why you are so shitty.

You see, innovation, process improvement, and methodology practices fall into a generational cycle. A wise man once explained it as generation 0 creates the innovation, generation 1 implements the innovation, and generation 2 challenges the innovation. The generation after that creates a new innovation and becomes the new generation 0. In other words, innovation has a shelf life of about 20-25 years.

While I agree with this theory, the generational take on knowledge and innovation suggests that there is a generation in the cycle that serves no purpose other than to perpetuate the previous generation's thoughts and philosophies. It’s a pretty shitty take if you ask me.

It’s hard to argue against the generational theory of knowledge. It’s something that you can observe almost everywhere: academia, business, sociology, psychology, hard sciences, soft-sciences, technology, your family’s recipes, etc.

I have two issues with the generational argument, and they must be addressed prior to learning about moving past Agile as a default, into building a PMO that will work for your organization.

The first issue is that Generation 1 does serve a purpose. They expand on and build off of the findings of Generation 0. It actually allows the generations to begin to question the insight from Generation 0. It is impressively easy to simply lump Gen 1 with Gen 0 or to call them a fucking shill to the old ways.

Grandpa Simpson saying "You're the worst shill I've ever seen"
The worst shill you've seen, so far

The ability to build off of the previous generation’s insight is what powers Gen 2 to begin to look at better ways, so while Gen 1 is perpetuating an older way of thinking, they are the ones who should empower future innovation, they are not useless.

The second problem with the generational theory is one of lifespan. You see, in business, Gen 0, 1, and 2 are all working alongside each other. Frequently, Gen 0 is in charge and makes important decisions. Gen 2’s attempts to innovate and move beyond the old ways of doing things are met with pushback from both Generations 0 and 1. So while Gen 2 is attempting to innovate, they can’t, which inevitably will cause a delay in innovation from a new generation (Gen 3).

What Does This Mean for You

Many people who have dared to challenge Agile as the default methodology for all projects have been met with a lot of hate. Spend enough time on PM forums, PM YouTube channels, and PM-focused blogs and you’ll find an endless supply of content that is claiming how amazing Agile is, and how it’s the fix-all for everything.

Scene from the Simpsons where ads come to life.  Kent Brockman says "Perhaps it's part of some daring new ad campaign" as a giant devil walks by in the background
It's all fucking marketing Muh-Dude

Then there are those of us who want to innovate. We see that Agile is an imperfect methodology and we want to fix it.

So we ask, please, when going into the Beyond Agile series, keep in mind that we’re not trying to undo all of your innovation. We’re not trying to make you irrelevant. We’re just trying to find better ways of doing things by challenging the commonly accepted ways. Agile was created in 2001 by software companies and has been the center of attention ever since. Now, in 2023, we are coming up on that 25-year generational cycle, but as new diverse thinking is entering the workforce, we are seeing stagnation in how things are being done. Innovation isn’t occurring, because the supporters of Agile are a rabid bunch that will defend it until the day they die.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can do better. We just need you to listen, think about it, and join us in innovating. I guess the question, therefore, is: do you trust me?

Olaf and Sven from Frozen 2 sliding across the ice singing "A Whole New World."  So sorry for getting the song stuck in your head
Wife: I'm thinking of dropping Disney+. Me (having just finished my 100th viewing of Frozen 2) don't you fucking dare!


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