Agile Misinterpreted: Setting the Record Straight on Deadlines

The realm of publishing, like many other industries, has not been immune to the sweeping changes brought about by technology and changing work dynamics. Among these changes is the adoption of Agile methodologies, particularly in teams that intersect with technology and project management. I'd like to share a personal anecdote that highlights the misconceptions about Agile, even within progressive industries like publishing, and why it's essential for leaders to understand its real value.

A Step Back in Time

Years ago, I found myself working at various publishing companies. At one such company, an opportunity arose that would have been a significant milestone in my career – leading an Agile transformation for an engineering team. They were keen to evolve into a full-fledged scrum team, and the head of engineering was supportive of the initiative.

However, the journey hit an unexpected bump. One day, while discussing the transformation with the head of engineering, my then-new boss overheard our conversation. Hailing from another publishing company, he had been appointed to lead the PMO after his predecessor's departure. On the surface, he seemed to fit right into the contemporary business landscape. But his mindset? It was, disappointingly, reminiscent of the 1980s or 1990s.

Misunderstanding Agile

Shortly after our casual conversation, this boss pulled me aside. With a firm tone, he stated that our PMO, being in a publishing company, couldn't "do Agile." His primary concern was deadlines. To him, Agile seemed incompatible with the commitment to deadlines we had to our stakeholders.

I attempted to explain the essence of Agile. At its core, Agile doesn't signify an abandonment of deadlines. Instead, it's a dynamic way for teams to manage their tasks efficiently. With the collaboration of project managers, product managers, and scrum masters, an Agile team can elaborate on their work, assign story points, and realistically map out their goals within a given timeframe.

For those unfamiliar, story points are not direct representations of time. Instead, they offer a gauge of the effort involved in terms of complexity and difficulty. This can be subsequently translated into time estimates. Sadly, my explanation was cut short, as my boss firmly believed in his viewpoint. Feeling stifled and undervalued, I decided to move on from the company soon after.

Final Reflections

This incident from over a decade ago remains poignant. It underscores a pressing issue: the need to understand that Agile doesn't translate to "lazy," "sloppy," or "unpredictable." As technology continues to reshape industries, it's crucial for leaders to remain open-minded, continuously learn, and adapt. I often wonder if my former boss ever updated his understanding of Agile, especially given its prevalence in modern tech environments.

In closing, embracing Agile, or any other methodology for that matter, requires more than superficial knowledge. It demands genuine understanding, adaptability, and a commitment to fostering a collaborative environment where teams can thrive.

Popular posts from this blog

Changing Jobs Every Two Years

Project Management in Action: Enhancing Communities through Projetos Sociais Estação Vida and Uberlandia Development Initiatives

The Journey to Agile Transformation: A Scrum-Based Approach