There are many misunderstandings about Agile and what it is or is not. I’ve met some people who were really convinced that ‘Agile’ and ‘Scrum’ are like synonyms. Or who think ‘Agile’ is a synonym for ‘flexible’. Both are not true. If Agile would have just been about flexibility or responsiveness, I suppose they would have called it ‘The Manifesto of Responsiveness’ or something like that. However they didn’t so there must be more to it than just the Responsiveness. Agile is a mindset. A set of principles to guide you in the choices you make. The Agile Manifesto contains 4 values, a footnote and 12 principles. The 12 principles can be read ( or used ) as a clarification of the 4 values, i.e. some extra guidance to better understand what it means. Although these principles focus on software development, ‘Agile’ is not a software development methodology. To say that ‘Scrum’ and ‘Agile’ are synonyms is like saying ‘beautiful’ and ‘woman’ are synonyms. Most women are beautiful but not all that is beautiful is a woman. Equally, most Scrum implementations are Agile, but not all that is Agile is Scrum. The english word ‘agile’ is synonym to the word ‘flexible’. Therefore, a common misunderstanding is that you should be as flexible as water to be ‘agile’. Examples of this misunderstanding are
- “My product owner is too Agile. He changes his mind every 4 days. So we’re not getting any work done. Pffff. We’re too Agile. It doesn’t work.” or
- “What do you mean you can’t work tonight. You call yourself Agile. So be Agile tonight !”.