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Agility is an Infinite Game


We are our own worst enemy sometimes. We are causing the confusion that we are supposed to be alleviating.

In the last few weeks, I have been invited to numerous webinars to discuss the “Phases of Agile Maturity”. While I understand the desire of consulting companies and their "agile coaches" to quantify agility, it is a glaring reason why so many companies are starting to turn their back on agile and agile coaches.

I am sorry to break this news, but agile maturity is never achieved. It is an infinite game (

It becomes the standard approach for the company. They don’t think about it anymore, they just do it.

The phases of business maturity, supported by agile practices, are:

  • Try

  • Fail & learn

  • Try again

  • Fail less and learn more

  • Try again

  • Fail & learn faster

  • Repeat until you figure it out

  • Get comfortable, for a moment

  • Then expect the market, customer, or world to change and start back on step #1

We don't measure project management maturity. We don’t measure leadership maturity. We don’t measure marketing maturity. Why are we doing this with agility?

If the business is getting better over time; if our customers enjoy doing business with us; and if our teams are becoming more effective (not just efficient) over time, then you are practicing agility.

It is like practicing law. The law changes constantly. No lawyer is always 100% up on the law. It would be impossible.

Agility is the same way. Once you get “good” at it, something changes. The market changes, a competitor comes and disrupts, or the product ages out.

The agile organization is built to handle all the uncertainty and can maximize the value of the market change.

Can we please stop trying to sell agility and focus on selling the business benefits of agility? It's a subtle change, but it will make a world of difference.

Have a valuable day!

Your friendly neighborhood product owner, Tom.

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