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  • Agile is an approach first developed for software development because of all the failures of large-scale IT systems

  • It has many advocates

  • An article in the Harvard Business Review entitled ‘Embracing Agile’ even 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

  • For example, consider what John Seddon, CEO of Vanguard Consultants, had to say about it in his book ‘Beyond Command and Control’, describing the government’s Universal Credit project as an appalling example

  • His team came to regard it as ‘the most dysfunctional management fad we have ever come across’, not least because:

    • 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