In a keynote at the Eclipse Summit Europe (ESE 2010) Jeff Norris, NASA, reminded the audience that “agile” is an adjective describing behaviour. Jeff is one of the few people I know (I am the other one) who believe that “agile” should be used to describe behavioural traits of humans or organisation. The term “agile method” does not really make sense. Maybe this explins partly why “agile method” in product develoment is so easily equated with “freestyle”, or no discipline or predictability.
Using example like Alexander Graham Bell and Werner von Braun Jeff outlined the traits of truely agile people:
- they have a vision
- they are committed
- they “feel” what – possibly significant – change is required to make the opportunity happen
- they see this opportunity, but they also recognise the risk that change inherently brings with it, and, very importantly,
- they see the risk that not changing brings
This latter insight distinguishes agile people from those, who are not.
Well, this describes one of our society’s key barriers to embrace (sustainable) change very aptly.