Linguistics in Agile: Top 10 Anti-Agile Terms

Linguistics in Agile: Top 10 Anti-Agile Terms

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Agile practices have introduced a new lexicon for people to absorb and understand. Happily, along with the useful terms comes a more entertaining vocabulary.

Here are my top 10 favourite anti-agile terms:

  1. Agile in Name Only, or AINO: Companies that have adopted agile frameworks and practices without embracing the cultural changes required.
  2. Dark Scrum: Abusive forms of Scrum, where the framework is misapplied to oppress and exert power over developers. Ron Jeffries introduced this term in September 2016.
  3. FrAgile: Agile practices that are performed without rigour or discipline. FrAgile provides an excuse for poor quality development that avoids accountability.
  4. Lipstick Agile: Agile practices cosmetically applied without any understanding or noticeable difference to the true nature of development. In other words, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it will still be a pig.
  5. ScrumBut: Scrum is "adopted," but dysfunctions are accepted by the team as the standard way of working. The syntax for this is (ScrumBut)(Reason)(Workaround). For example, "We use Scrum, but we have thirty-four people in our development team because we are working on a complex project.”
  6. Scrumdamentalist: An evangelically pure follower of Scrum practices who operates from an ivory tower, typically with a two-day CSM "qualification" and no experience. Essentially, scrumdamentalists have no sense of reality.
  7. TrAgile: Tragically implemented agile frameworks or projects that end in tragedy. In these situations, agile practices are nominally in place but without true understanding or tangible improvement. For example, daily Scrums which contain 32 people, last an hour and consist of everyone giving a status report according to a Microsoft Project plan.
  8. Wagile: A hybrid of waterfall and agile development practices resulting either from desperately trying to save failing projects, or from slipping back to waterfall from agile. By completing several short waterfalls, teams delude themselves into thinking that they are agile. At best, this adds shorter iterations, agile walls and daily meetings to failed waterfall projects in an attempt to reduce overall risk and appease management.
  9. Water-Scrum-Fall: A failed implementation of agile where requirements gathering is completed first, and teams then perform the implementation before the results are passed to the deployment team for eventual release.
  10. Zombie Agile: A blind adherence to agile practices without adopting the mindset required to make them work.

Please tell me about your favourite agile (or anti-agile) term in the comments section below.


Peter Hyde (CSP, CSM, CSPO, SA) is an enterprise agile coach who resides in West Sussex, UK.

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