• Teri Christian

Discussion Piece - Is agile a blast from the past?

This is the first of an ongoing series of interesting articles and discussion pieces. The goal is to spread discussion on ideas, issues, and concepts that are important in today's digital economy.

A colleague shared this article with me this week, which really made me think... is agile really a new idea or a rebellion to turn to the past.

The article titled "How McKinsey destroyed the Middle Class," written by Daniel Markovits in 2020, suggests that the large consulting companies disrupted inclusive operating models and reward structures. It is an interesting read.

According to the article, the normal way of working in the 1940s and '50s was through inclusive, diverse systems that scaled management from top to bottom. However, the article claims that the rise of consultancy companies gutted the middle-management layer of organizations and created a huge disparity between the top leaders and workers.

The below graph demonstrates the rise in wages for CEOs and the gap between workers over time. The article highlights how this was bought about over the same time period that consultancies rose in popularity.

When I think about the Digital Operating model (DigOps) that I have developed over the last eight years, I realize it isn't necessarily new but a call to the past. In the model, middle-managers play a key role. They support enterprise-wide delivery flow and the teams responsible for delivering against the executive team's strategic vision. Without this vital role, teams are left helpless and directionless.

What say you? Do you think agile is a new thing or a revival of the past? If agilists are trying to create flow, diversity, and inclusion, how would we influence leaders in the current climate? As workers are becoming more and more unique in technical skillsets, how long will this trend be sustainable? Or is this even a trend? Is the article debunked?

Leave your comments in this post. Your thoughts are important to our community to continue to grow and learn. How can we bring change if we don't work together?

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