WIN #021: Agile Manifesto and its Offspring: A Blessing or a Curse?

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The Agile Manifesto and its subsequent methodologies were heralded as the future of software development. They emphasize adaptability, customer collaboration, and continuous improvement. But, with the rise of “Hollow Agile,” are we truly realizing its potential? This trend, fueled by certification-centric approaches, often magnifies the importance of certification over genuine understanding. Are we risking not only our technical excellence but also the very essence of product quality?

The Certification Trap: Is it Overshadowing the Real Essence?

Certifications often promise a structured approach to learning, but is there a hidden cost?

  • Overemphasis on Process: While Agile is rich in its principles, why do many perceive it as just a set of rituals and ceremonies?
  • Certification Business: With the Agile certification industry booming, one can’t help but ask: Is the emphasis shifting from genuine learning to merely obtaining a certificate?
  • Surface-Level Knowledge: Certifications may provide foundational principles, but do they delve deeper into the practical challenges faced in real-world scenarios?

Technical Excellence: Isn’t it the True Essence of Agile?

Technical excellence is about more than just writing impeccable code; it’s about consistently and sustainably delivering value.

  • Quality Over Quantity: It’s essential to focus on how well you deliver. High-quality products lead to satisfied customers and reduce long-term maintenance costs.
  • Sustainability: With technical excellence at the forefront, teams can maintain a consistent pace, ensuring minimal accrual of technical debt.
  • Innovation: Technically adept teams can innovate, ensuring products remain competitive and relevant.

Building Technical Excellence: How Can Teams Truly Achieve It?

Achieving technical excellence goes beyond following best practices; it’s about cultivating a mindset of continuous improvement, collaboration, and innovation.

  • Continuous Practice: Encourage regular practice. Be it side projects, open-source contributions, or coding challenges.
  • Continuous Code Reviews and Pair Programming: These ensure code quality and facilitate real-time knowledge sharing.
  • Invest in Training: Beyond self-learning, organized sessions expose the team to new ideas. Expose team members to crucial concepts.
  • Promote Testing: Make testing an integral part of the development process. Mandate achieving high degree of self-validating code, either through TDD or other test-first approach.
  • Encourage Experimentation: New tools and methodologies can lead to innovative solutions.
  • Refactor Regularly: Maintain a clean and manageable codebase. 
  • Knowledge Sharing: Fosters a sense of collective growth.
  • Emphasize Soft Skills: Alongside technical prowess, skills like communication and teamwork are crucial. Teams are not groups of typists, but living high-performing and effective organisms.
  • Feedback Loops: Shorten the time between any action and a feedback. Remember that feedback fuels growth. Implement systems for it.
  • Stay Updated: With an ever-evolving tech landscape, continuous learning is key.


Technical excellence is a continuous journey of learning and adaptation. By valuing quality, fostering a growth mindset, and sharing knowledge, teams can navigate this journey, delivering unparalleled value every step of the way. Isn’t that what we all aim for?

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