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Lean Startup or Agile or Lean Startup and Agile?

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Joshua Kerievsky triggered a debate with a recent post on the Industrial Logic blog titled “Agile vs Lean Startup” 

In the post he states that “[Lean Startup] rocks – it rocks far more than Agile”

He goes on to list what he sees as the contrasts between Agile and Lean Startup:
















Abby Fichtner of the Hacker Chick Blog reposted the table with the comment:

In Agile, we measure progress with Velocity, we say “how much software did we develop this week?” Lean Startup says “Who the hell cares how much software we developed this week – how many people bought our product or used our software” – you know, the things we actually care about.

The post resulted in a significant twitter stream along with at least one post objecting to the perceived Agile vs Lean Startup nature of the Kerievsky’s post.

Todd Charon in the Planning for Failure blog challenged the underlying premise of the original post. He says

What I am ranting about, is this notion that Agile Vs. Lean Startup is a thing. That they are somehow opposed and that people will have to choose between them and that somehow they must be convinced that one (The Lean Startup) is superior to the other (Agile).
This is just stupid. It makes no sense and it does more harm than good to both the Agile and Lean Startup communities.

He goes on to address each of the “xxx vs yyy” statements in the table and maintains that they are not either/or concepts rather they are fundamentally complementary.

He is especially concerned about the perception of Lean Startup as somehow superseding Agile will harm the software development community:

Let’s say you’re a change agent and you’re trying to introduce Agile in a waterfall organization back in the days before The Lean Startup became a big deal. You’re starting to make progress, but people are still struggling. Then suddenly you turn around and say “Lean Startup rocks way more than Agile! Let’s stop doing this thing I pushed hard for and hop on this new trend!”. How credible are you now in your pursuit of change?
Or let’s say you’re a change agent and you’ve been trying to introduce Agile in a waterfall organization. You used to hear people say “Agile is just a fad, it’ll go away”. Now when they hear about The Lean Startup and how it rocks way more than Agile, they say “I told you so. And this one will go away too. No reason to change.”
And if you’re trying to introduce a Lean Startup approach, good luck getting solid development practices in. “We don’t need Agile, Lean Startup is way better! We don’t need continuous integration or TDD, we’ll just ship!”
Or “Agile was a passing fad, so is The Lean Startup. We’ll catch the next one…”
Or even, “Yesterday you were selling Agile, now you’ve ditched that for The Lean Startup. You’re all just snake oil salesmen…”

He ends the post with a strong call to take a “yes, and” perspective on Agile and Lean Startup:

You might even say that The Lean Startup turns your Agile up to 11!

Is Lean Startup the next big thing, is it the natural progression of Agile, or is it just another fad that will pass if we ignore it?


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