Thursday, February 01, 2018

Agile Placebo

Have you watched Penn and Teller Water Bottle Survey episode ? It is hilarious. If you haven't watched, please watch it before reading the rest of this article.

This is a good example of a placebo effect, isn't it? You give something a brand and sell it at a high price. People get carried away with the fancy titles, names and the price. 
What if we do the same experiment in the IT industry as well ?. Pick 3 companies and let them all do waterfall method internally. But for the exercise sake, brand one company as pioneering in "Waterfall" method, the next in "Agile," with the third one saying, "Prince2".  
If you ask our comrades in the IT industry to vote for a company that is delivering value to the customers by looking at the brand name, they would undoubtedly vote for the company branded as "Agile," even though internally they might just be doing waterfall method. 
I feel the above phenomenon is happening in many organizations. Since there is a whole lot of branding around Agile and that application of this method would lead to an increase in customer satisfaction, revenue, employee engagement, etc. Organizations in every nook and corner of the world would like to try it.
No doubt, any method followed as per the recommendation will deliver the promised outcome.
However, I see that the spirit and DNA in most of the companies are still associated with Waterfall method with Tayloristic management thinking. However, as soon as they start doing the so-called "Stand-ups," "Iterations" etc., everyone starts feeling something good about it, leading to a euphoria in the company. 
I am guessing that the "Agile" placebo is currently driving many organizations. 
One could create a placebo by using a "Japanese" terminology as well. The premise here is, since Japanese are considered to be efficient, anything that has a Japanese name will be useful. 
Before I end this article, let me ask you this, what other placebos have you seen in the Agile world ?

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