It’s not often that a strip is 10 years (and a lot of grey hair) in the making.

I had my first exposure to Agile about a decade ago. I had only done frustrating waterfall projects up to that point. My main recollection of them was stress and anger because of missed deadlines and poor quality. The blame game was always in full swing. Things often got released despite the process rather than because of it.

Then along came the opportunity to try out Agile – or to be more exact Scrum in our case. I loved it immediately. It made sense. It accepted that in a complex world no amount of planning can predict the future. It also accepted that you may need to rework or ditch previous work. It was the same approach that I would take when I being creative in other ways, such as writing or drawing.

Obviously, Agile was the answer to all our problems. And I told everyone so. They said that any good team would deliver good results with or without Agile. I wasn’t buying that. I’d seen the light. I’d had an epiphany!

My first Agile project was really successful from a product point of view – though personally I ran into so much internal resistance that I had to quit the company. A very painful lesson. But probably necessary. I was still a believer – I’d seen what a scrum team could deliver.

So then I spent the next God-knows-how-many years trying to achieve the same level of agility with other teams. There has been some success – largely with isolated teams – but the failures by far outweigh the successes.

The irony is, I still believed just as fervently in all things Agile – I just no longer believed that most companies are anywhere near mature enough to even contemplate any form of agility. Most of them don’t have a real sense of urgency or desire. Nor is there enough trust – if any – and without trust Agile can’t survive.

That’s where my thinking currently is – let’s see what the future brings!