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Keeping Agile Agile



Dan North argues that Agile best practices can help an organization only to a point, and continuing to rigidly apply them after that will stifle innovation and drive people away. Organizations need to continue to innovate, finding new ways and practices to develop software by looking at the motivations behind Agile practices and not just implementing them.


Dan North writes software and coaches teams in Agile and Lean methods. He believes in putting people first and writing simple, pragmatic software. He believes that most problems that teams face are about communication, that is why he puts so much emphasis on "getting the words right", and why he is so passionate about BDD, communication and how people learn. He blogs at

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Recorded at:

Jan 27, 2011

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Community comments

  • What makes Agile agile?

    by Udayan Banerjee,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    But how can you distinguish an agile methodology from a non-agile one? I think there are 3 questions that you need to ask:
    1. What recommendations does the methodology provide for managing short iterations?
    2. Is there any mandate that makes it necessary to produce a document or a model which is expected to be a complete and unambiguous representation of a specific dimension of the software?
    3. What recommendations does the methodology provide to help create a self-motivated team?

  • Wonderful insight on the learning process

    by Gary Elliott,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I am a teacher by nature, though not by trade. I enjoy learning about the teaching process.

    Perhaps you set out to explain some difficulties with adopting agile, you really explained the growth and learning process of people and organizations. I could identify with everything you've said. At the age of 51, I know less about the things I do on a daily basis. But if you ask the right questions, a lot comes out because of all the times I've screwed things up in the past.

    It is not easy to take people from cute little rules to true experience. Rules always have a way of coming up short sooner or later. I like to think of it as growing from ignorance to knowledge to wisdom (the application of knowledge).

    I am going to need to listen to this one a few times! Thanks.

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