Agile Roles

Capital One cuts over 1,000 roles in Technology • The Register (Also HN)

The consumer lending company told The Register that its plan was to eliminate its “Agile” job family and integrate staff there into “existing engineering and product manager roles.”

As someone who worked in the Japanese IT industry, I used to be wondering how Agile was adopted in the U.S. and why it had collected so much hate.

I then learned that many companies not only hired Agile consultants but also had full-time “Agile roles” like Scrum Masters. There are even certificates for these professions. Hiring more people to run the process didn’t feel like lower-case “agile”, and that was probably one of the reasons why the upper-case “Agile” was disliked.

This upper-case Agile was not as common in Japan, and I suspect it is still the same. I preach this fact because, to me, Agile was always a grassroots movement. It was hard to imagine what a full-time Agile role was like. I still don’t understand.

Today, before I figure it out, the era of the upper-case Agile seems to be ending.

You would point out that the statement from Capital One is just an excuse. Maybe. Partly at least. On the other hand, I smell a pinch of truth; There are countless ways to cut and excuse, and they choose the above from the endless options.

You may then wonder if the lower-case agile is also ending. I hope not. The statement says:

The Agile role in our Tech organization was critical to our earlier transformation phases but as our organization matured, the natural next step is to integrate agile delivery processes directly into our core engineering practices

As an ex-grassroots-agile-believer, I’m too biased to question this. I’d rather ask you what you see from your trench. Is the lower-case agile dead, or is it “integrated”?