How do you know if all this about Agile is not a scam? How do you know if all of it is about a whimsical fashion? Are there not enough cases of sophistry in History by which people have been fooled to put their resources in the hands of swindlers? (Sophistry is briefly discussed in this material from a community of philosophical inquire).
What makes work the ideas behind Agile?
As far as I am able to see, the answer contains something intimately linked to individuals, and not to the ideas themselves. It is about the way individuals think, and about how they learn to improve their thoughts.
What resides at the center of Agile, what is required to inquire into and adopt regardless of name and external ceremonies, is a learning style. A power or ability to put ourselves in a given mental position or attitude, by which we search to be aware of the terrain and give it priority over what the map might say. I think there are clear correlations of intellectual patterns between agile thinking and philosophical inquire.
As no one can think on behalf of other, the responsibility to develop such power or ability resides in the individual.
The 'Agile' development 'methodology' is perhaps best depicted by the Dilbert cartoon where the pointy-hair boss says "We're going to try something called Agile Programming. That means no more planning and no more documentation. Just start writing code and complaining." Wally responds: "I'm glad it has a name." The Pointy Haired Boss tells Dilbert: "That was your training."
The problem is that this is almost EXACTLY how a former boss of mine took up Agile for the entire company's development work. I was gone within weeks of that insane decision.
I sent him a copy of the Dilbert a couple of years after I left there in disgust. I don't think he liked the cartoon.
He'd bought in to his image of what the term 'Agile' meant to him, disregarding (or not considering) the consequences of such an approach to development that would be relied on to support $37 BILLION in pension funds that this company managed for others.
These days the company's website quotes that it manages $30 Billion...I wonder how much of that 20% decline in assets under management is attributable to the management systems they built with such agility?