OKRs and Fake Agile

May 30, 2019 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I stumbled on these two articles separately. On the surface they are unrelated. As a read them both it started to click that these have a lot of overlap.

Zafu Labs, OKRs from a development team’s perspective:

So it makes sense that when the OKRs come out for the quarter, we just take what we already have and figure out how to fit it into the OKRs.

Steve Denning at Forbes, Understanding Fake Agile:

Not everyone uses “Agile” in the way I have defined it. Some people use “agile” to refer to any firm calling itself, or claiming to be, agile. This usage leads to many firms being called agile even though they are not being managed any differently from traditional bureaucracy. It also excludes some of the firms that have been most successful in implementing Agile, because they don’t use the standard terminology of Agile. Hence this usage leads to many firms which might be called “Agile in name only” or what I have sometimes called “fake Agile.” In other words, to understand whether a firm is Agile, we have to look beyond what firms are saying and look at how they are operating.

I'm very skeptical of methodology that is used to support bureaucracy and also used to help people do better work. Once Agile became popular the terms were taken over by many levels of corporate management to mean "productive" and "nimble" but it almost never actually means that. "Working backwards" maybe is the only thing management and engineering have in common.