The Future of Agile

Here are some of the things Agile has demonstrated to be of value.

  • Having self-organizing small teams
  • Building incrementally
  • Taking an iterative approach

However, an organization is not merely a collection of small teams, it must also do the following:

  • Have a vision to guide what is built
  • Have collaboration across teams

All this means we need an ecosystem that illuminates the vision and allows teams to self-organize to achieve it.

This is not a new concept. It’s called Middle-Up-Down Management and was coined in 1988 by Ikujiro Nonaka, the co-author of “The New New Product Development Game.” This article inspired was the inspiration for Scrum and, therefore, inspired Agile.

Rethink what Agile at scale involves. It includes common vision, small implementations, and tight collaboration with a focus on value. Leadership is required as are Agile teams. What about the mantra, “trust and respect”? Not necessarily; that’s a side effect.

What about changing management methods as a way to change culture. That’s not the right way to think about it. Culture is a reflection of how companies are managed. Neither can be ignored.

As Jerry Sternin says, “It is easier to work your way into a new way of thinking than to act your way into a new way of working.”

This is Al Shalloway. Visit us at

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