Agile United against the Corporate Machine

Ken Schwaber has publicly voiced anxiety about Scrum (and other Agile processes) being absorbed by large corporate entities that have shown their tendency to dilute initiatives in the past (think CMM). Ken recently posted an email he received from someone at Rational/IBM which seems to indicate that IBM is at least thinking about “incorporating” Scrum into their Rational Unified Process, a large, unweildy library of defined processes.

But what can a small, rag-tag band of consultants and evangelists do against the corporate IBM machine? Ron Jeffries has recently been advocating for the unity of Agile processes, which would bring the disparate Agile processes under one umbrella. He even got his Certified ScrumMaster at the ScrumGathering in Boulder last year.
Could a united Agile stand a better chance against the likes of IBM? I think so, and if assimilation is the biggest challenge facing Agile, we should work with Ron to strengthen the ranks.

On the other hand, the current diversity of ideas is what makes the Agile community so innovative and self-assessing. Would new and emerging Agile processes need to join “Agile United” else incur lack of acceptance? Are Agile processes to a point where standardization and organization under an umbrella is even feasible? I doubt this is true and I don’t think the rebellious and innovative Agile community is willing to forego individualism, even if the cause is worthy.

Victor Szalvay

Victor Szalvay currently leads product development for CollabNet’s ScrumWorks® product suite. In that capacity, he works closely with customers, stakeholders, and the development teams to deliver high business value each release cycle. With more than 150,000 active users worldwide, ScrumWorks is used by more than half of the Fortune 100 and boasts the largest market share of any Agile management tool.

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