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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

I Don't Care About "Agile"

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All ideas are great, until they are confronted with reality.

The concept of Management By Objectives by Peter F. Drucker was great, except for the fact that it didn’t take into account that managers could easily abuse it to enrich themselves with big bonuses.

The idea of Shareholder Value, supported by Nobel-prize winner Milton Friedman, was great in theory and perfect for rational minds, as long as we ignored the fact that economic decisions are almost never rational.

The Balanced Scorecard by Kaplan and Norton is a very good tool for managers. But most managers think they’re driving their organization like a machine, instead of riding it as if it’s a horse, and digital dashboards don’t sit well on horses.

The list of failed management ideas goes on an on…

Now we are in the age of Agile Management, Lean Development, and Complexity Thinking, with Scrum, Kanban, and Cynefin trying to ride the waves. And the first signals of disillusion have already been heard. I hear, “It’s not working here”, “People don’t want to change” and “These are fads like all the others”.

And yes… they may be right.

If you don’t change the culture of your organization to one of learning instead of controlling, if you don’t see your business as a community instead of a computer, and if you don’t focus on improving through people rather than processes, you will get exactly that. The ideas won’t work, people won’t change, and it’s all just a fad.

No great idea survives contact with the ignorant.

Of course, words like Agile and Lean were conceived to try and change the mindsets of managers and the cultures of businesses. But if these words don’t succeed, we shouldn’t mourn their defeat. The Agile and Lean brands may be destined to end up on the same pile of discarded words as all the others. Not because the ideas weren’t any good. But because they couldn’t cope with the real world.

I don’t care.

My goal is not to define, use, and protect the word Agile.

My goal is to be happy while learning new things and creating value in a network with other people. I will use any cool words that can help me with this. And right now, I’m an optimist. For me, Agile is still an awesome brand.

Until it isn’t.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)