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Ghosts of Agile Past: Dogma!

January 11, 2024

Is Dogmatism Ruining Your Agile Team's Potential?

One of the ghosts of Agile past is dogmatism. We've all encountered those who rigidly adhere to an idea, irrespective of the data and the experience of the people around them. In my journey with teams, I strive to be pragmatic, adapting to the unique circumstances of each team, yet maintaining a certain pedantry in training situations. It's crucial to understand the specific meanings of terms like Scrum, continuous delivery, or any other aspect of Agile practices, as they have specific implications in our field.

In my practice, I often encounter teams bogged down by dogmatism, where rules are followed without understanding their purpose or context. A striking example is a Scrum Master I knew who was fired for insisting on standing meetings, despite having a team member in a wheelchair. This case illustrates the folly of dogmatism – the team's decision to sit was a manifestation of the Scrum values of respect and courage, yet the Scrum Master was fixated on a misinterpreted rule.

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Agile practices require a balance. On one hand, we need to understand and respect the established norms and terminology; on the other, we must apply these in a pragmatic manner that respects the unique context of each team. Being pedantic about terminology and rules is valuable in a learning context, but in practical application, it's the spirit of these practices that should guide us. Dogmatism in Agile, where practices are followed blindly without regard to their effectiveness or relevance to the situation at hand, is a pitfall that every practitioner should be wary of.

Key Topics:

  • Dogmatism in Agile Practices
  • Pragmatism vs Pedantry
  • Real-World Application of Agile Principles
  • Balance Between Rules and Flexibility
  • Tailoring Agile to Team Contexts

Is Dogmatism Ruining Your Agile Team's Potential?



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