Is Apple truly ‘Agile’ in the sense of the Agile Manifesto?

“We have always known that Apple is agile, having successively disrupted the music industry, the cell phone sector and the tablet market, as well as itself,” Steve Denning reports for Forbes. “But is Apple truly ‘Agile’ in the sense of the Agile Manifesto? Apple is conspicuously absent from the Agile/Scrum/Lean/Kanban conferences. Is it possible that they could be agile, without being Agile?”

“Thanks to Adam Lashinsky’s terrific new book, Inside Apple, which I reviewed here yesterday, we now know,” Denning reports. “Apple is Agile.”

Denning reports, “It was obvious even from the outside that Steve Jobs was the supreme Product Owner in the Scrum terminology. He was the one who designed what would delight the customer. Lashinsky confirms: ‘Apple designed for Steve,’ a former Apple software engineer said. ‘It is not an exaggeration. Steve was the user that everything orbited around and was designed for.’ The biggest challenge Apple faces is to find a new product owner, probably a group of them, not just one.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sir Jonathan Ive.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Opportun” for the heads up.]

11 Comments

    1. How about including a pen and pencil in case you need to write an email offline when your battery is dead…
      Let’s solve all the problems going backward not forward!

    2. No, I agree with him. The natural step for mobile Mac devices is to gain full wireless capabilities, not just WiFi. So far only the iPad 2 w/3G and the iPhone offer that capability unless you use a wireless hotspot. But I believe that wireless will be ubiquitous in mobileMac devices in the future. The division between the iPhone and the iPod touch will eventually disappear.

  1. > The biggest challenge Apple faces is to find a new product owner…

    What??? Jony Ive. His name is not even mentioned in the full article. He was a “product owner” even when Steve Jobs was there. Steve Jobs said he set things up at Apple so that Jony Ive has more “operational control” than anyone else. That means major products do not get the GO for release without the “Jony Ive seal-of-approval.”

  2. “But is Apple truly ‘Agile’ in the sense of the Agile Manifesto? Apple is conspicuously absent from the Agile/Scrum/Lean/Kanban conferences. Is it possible that they could be agile, without being Agile?”

    Who decided “Agile” was something to strive for … in other words … who the fsck cares?

    1. In my many years of software development experience, I’ve found that “agile” development really means “we’re not going to document anything…we’ll do it by ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ methods, forget comments or good coding practices, just get it done FAST and let the next guy worry about maintaining it!!!”

      Which is why I got out of the software business.

      From what I can tell, however, Apple is one of the few companies doing things “the right way,” with well-documented APIs, code, etc.

      Calling Apple ‘Agile’ is insulting, IMHO.

  3. Agile is the development paradigm du jour and they’re trying to plant their flag in Apple’s success and say, “See!? successful agile developers.” Having been there and done that, agile is the development equivalent of the story, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”
    Yeah… I got your standup, right here!.

  4. Is agile related to being ‘flexible’ and being able to react quickly to changing circumstances?

    Apple is the exact opposite of that. They create their own set of circumstances by having long term plans, maintaining strict focus and discipline, and staying the course.

    They have a ten year plan and do not follow the advice of analists and critics.

    Agile is what others think they are when desperately trying in vain to follow behind Apples footsteps scraping up the crumbs of profits left over after Apple gorges itself silly.

  5. Number 4 in manifesto “Responding to change over following a plan”
    Has that anything to do with Apple? If anything Apple creates the change they do not respond to it. They might respond to opportunities but they are not responding to change in sense of having to create a pad computer because their competitor or clients asked for it. And please don’t say that Jobs was the customer. He is the product owner in this framework. Apple is succesful in part because they are devoutly not an RDD shop.

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