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Is Agile stuck? Looking for answers at Agile2017

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It’s hard not to ask the “Is Agile still relevant?” question today. And it’s harder to still to hear some of the answers, ranging from straight up “No” to “too much focus on process” to “they’re their own worst enemies.”

That’s why, in advance of Agile2017 next week, I reached out to Ronica Roth, adviser and team lead for agility services excellence at CA.

Roth says the negativity is inevitable (though she’s quick to add she’s eternally optimistic). “There are too many people who’ve hung out their shingles as consultants and focused too much on the process and gotten stuck there,” she said.

Her solution is simple: get back to basics, which in this case means have a clear idea of what your goal is before you start anything. “Our message to customers lately: go in knowing what outcome you have in mind. Have a clear hypothesis why you want to be ‘Agile.’ You need to apply some lean principles to it and be clear about what aspects of Agile you need to leverage to get better results.”

And no matter what, don’t listen to the naysayers and particularly to those who hold your feet to the fire because your “process” isn’t sufficiently Agile.

“If a consultant or coach says you’re not doing Agile right I don’t want them to work for us,” Roth said flatly.”Agile is all about being learning driven and not plan driven. It’s about paying attention to what’s working and to customers.”

In fact, Roth says she sees a time when we won’t be calling anything Agile, or Lean, but rather just “modern software development.”

Her advice for what to attend at Agile2017, besides her own session of course? “You want to go to anything related to culture and leadership because that’s going to transcend whatever process you’re focused on.”