Waste Is Expected 

Are you saddened by the amount of bullshit floating around in the Agile industry? Fear not.  

Waste is part of most natural processes. Because Agile is of human invention, it is subject to those natural laws.  

Although we try hard to cut waste in agile, to the point where “waste is a sin”, all processes have a by-product. There SHOULD always something to throw away.  Think of the bullshit that we see in the industry. Self-appointed experts and software or certification brands lend their voices. The BS has many forms and flavors. It includes bad leadership ideas. It includes pandering to social media trends. Spouting magic-bullet solutions to every problem. The infection of project management terms into Agile principles. Collapsing of roles, or the creation of new ones. Giving credence to old command-and-control, analyze-and-report attitudes. Endless lists of complex and dubious “how-to” and “top-ten” guidance. 

Waste Is Essential 

Fear not the bullshit. The mulch becomes fertilizer for what’s about to grow next. And trust me, the cycle will repeat itself. Trying to avoid waste is true waste. To inflame and argue in meetups and online forums about who’s got it right and who’s got it wrong is pointless. Good ideas contribute their verse. As do the bad ones.  

Renewal is inevitable. Like the four seasons. And it could be that Agile itself will have seasons too. There will be moments of great adoption, surges of interest. It will feel like we’re breaking through from the permafrost of what came before. Then, as it matures, each green leaf serves its purpose before it has run its course. Before it yellows, dries out and fades. Then follows a moment of rest and reflection. The winter. A time to store nutrients and energy. So that when the time comes to break through the ice again, we have the courage. We have the learning. We have the energy.  

Let Go of Judgement 

What falls to the ground does so without judgment. Nature doesn’t distinguish between a leaf and a flower. The bones of a serpent or a sparrow are all the same. So the bullshit is as necessary as any other organism. For Agilists, it should be an obvious choice to see it that way. For the purposes of our movement, all thought, including fluffy ideas, are exploration. Like any other experiment. The outcome does not determine its merit. The intention does. What is important is that we venture. And with that, we can come to accept that all Agile is an evolution. It will weather seasons. It will undergo deep change. Some of that change will be scary for us – especially those who depend on dependability.  

Instead, see all change as essential. Understand that beginnings and endings are flows in the system. Then we can be free of the need to judge ideas with labels and metrics of merit.  

We must learn to test all ideas by the same criteria. Not goodness or badness, but on their ability to advance the craft. If the bullshit sinks into the earth, it becomes fertile ground for the next wave of ideas. 

Waste Isn’t Always Wasteful 

As with all creation, what serves survives. What is ill-intended won’t make the next round. Each practitioner can examine an idea and imagine its application. YOU decide if it suits your practice. In the fluff, you might find the kernel of a better idea. Seeds you can plant another day. 

Emotional holy wars, ridicule and hatred are the only true waste. They reveal more about the author of the scrutiny than the idea itself. Is bullshit, then, all that bad?