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I have no experience of Agile – so let me offer the interesting views of John Seddon, Vanguard Consultants – taken from his book ‘Beyond Command and Control’


  • An approach first developed for software development, because of all the failures of large-scale IT systems
  • Then, an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled ‘Embracing Agile’ followed which said, given its success to date, it should become the go-to means for organisation-wide transformation
  • But its success record has not been good
  • The government’s Universal Credit project is an appalling example
  • Vanguard soon came to regard it as ‘the most dysfunctional management fad we have ever come across’
    • It assumes IT features are always beneficial
    • There’s no recognition of what IT should and should not be employed to do
    • It dreams up things to create rather than grounding change in knowledge of the likely outcomes
    • There’s no recognition of the importance of knowledge as the right starting-place
    • ‘Stories’ are inappropriate representations of reality
    • Cost control drives delivery of IT rather than effectiveness
  • Real customers’ needs are not understood, so not met