It’s been said that a prudent question is one-half of wisdom. But when it comes to agile and Google Search, it turns out there aren’t too many prudent questions.

That’s what we learned when we set about to increase our new website’s discoverability. We followed the traditional search engine optimization route of creating content based on how people search for answers to questions about agile. 

But, what we learned is that too many people start by asking the wrong questions to begin with, such as:

“What is the best agile methodology?”

“Is SAFe better than agile?”

What Is Agile Project Management (APM)?


Where to start?  We struggled with how to even begin to address these mis-guided questions. We struggled even more with attributing our names to the answers, not wanting to perpetuate the spin cycle of agile half-truths, misconceptions, and all-around agile jargon and gibberish that dilutes the true value we know agile can bring to an organization.

At Agile By Design, we increasingly see the need to save agile from itself. Too often, we see emphasis being placed on things that hardly matter, causing agile to increasingly look like the thing it was supposed to help improve. 

That’s why we want to set the record straight on agile by taking some of the most commonly searched queries and answering them how we believe they should be answered.

The Worst Agile Questions Answered

We think it’s important to set the record straight on agile, debunking some of the industry’s most common myths and upscale people’s knowledge about agile. We know that agile, done right, can help companies embrace new ways of working to better meet the needs of the future.

So without further ado, here’s how we’d answer some of the worst questions being asked about Agile.

1- What Is Agile Methodology?

The question "What Is Agile Methodology?" fundamentally misrepresents Agile as a methodology. Agile is a mindset, as well as a strategic approach. It is a philosophy based on the idea that organizations can better manage their market complexity through multi-disciplinary, self-organizing, user facing teams. While Agile is underpinned by a rich body of knowledge, Agile is not a singular, prescriptive path.

Rather Agile is best thought of as a collection of values and beliefs that emphasize adaptability, customer collaboration, and responsiveness to change, supported by diverse methods, frameworks, and practices. This perspective reduces Agile to a tool rather than recognizing it as a transformative way of thinking and working across various domains.

2- What is an Agile Transformation?

Asking "What is an Agile Transformation?" runs the risk of missing the core purpose of your transformation. It's not about adopting Agile for its own sake but transforming to more effectively deliver better outcomes for your users, buyers, and your employees. The goal is to decrease time to market, ensure safety and security in product development, and elevate satisfaction for all stakeholders involved. 

Transformation should focus on achieving these outcomes, leveraging Agile and Agile adjacent principles as a means to this end rather than making Agile the ultimate objective. Leading with the intent to improve outcomes, rather than simply becoming 'Agile,' ensures the transformation has a meaningful impact on the organization and its customers.

3- What Is an Agile Framework?

The question "What Is an Agile Framework?" misinterprets Agile as a confined framework, overlooking that Agile is foremost a mindset, characterized by flexibility, collaboration, and a continuous improvement ethos, that yes, is supported by a wealth of specific practices and methods. 

(See what is an Agile Methodology) It's the principles and attitudes—such as customer-centricity, adaptive planning, and team collaboration—that stand above any single framework. Agile encompasses various approaches (e.g., Scrum, Kanban, SAFe) but these methodologies and frameworks serve as examples and sometimes as vehicles for applying these principles, rather than defining Agile itself.

agile questions agile framework

4- What Is Agile Project Management (APM)?

The question "What Is Agile Project Management (APM)?" fundamentally misunderstands the nature of Agile, incorrectly framing it as a project management methodology. Agile is not about managing discrete projects with temporary teams using rigid plans or even flexible plans. Agile, at its core, emphasizes the formation of dedicated, self-managing, and cross-functional teams that work in a continuous flow of value delivery. Project, in contrast, asks you to assemble a project team and disassemble it once the project is done.

Agile's core values come through teamwork, and taking the time to gel in a way that increases their adaptability, collaboration, and act on customer insight. In agile, we do away with this idea that individuals are assembled from scratch using a schedule of fixed milestones and deliverables. 

Agile also teaches us that teams need to own more than the initial delivery work that is often the scope of a project. Agile teams strive to maintain, enhance, operate, and even own the new features and services they are responsible for, but this gets thrown out the window with a project-centric approach.  

Another issue is that the "Agile Project Management (APM)" as a methodology often leads organizations to assign agile on a project-by-project basis. This is a change management disaster. People oscillate between waterfall and Agile ways of working, disrupting the consistency and flow of work and making it impossible for a new mindset to take hold. Any reasonable change in agility requires that we focus on applying agile principles to people in outcome-owning teams.

Agile is about embedding these values into the fabric of how teams operate, ensuring stability and effectiveness rather than swinging between completely opposing paradigms depending on the profile of the project.

worst agile project management questions APM

5- What Is Agile Marketing? 

There are some dragons in the question "What Is Agile Marketing?". Namely, It's a myth to think that simply transplanting agile frameworks into marketing teams will be the primary thing that unlocks agility.

True agility in marketing doesn’t hinge on adopting these frameworks but on embracing principles and agile "adjacent" approaches that are aligned with Agile thinking. This includes a strong focus on growth marketing, employing experimental validated learning approaches, real-time analysis of cohort/customer flow metrics, and steering clear of vanity metrics. 

Fostering a team-oriented, cross-functional operating model is also key, with not only creatives, merchandising, PR, copy, and other core contributors within marketing but also product and operations. Reduce the use of big "A" Agile language and for sure reduce the use of big A Agile practices. Consider where Lean-Kanban, Lean Startup/UX/Analytics, Design Thinking, and other concepts can help.

6- What Is Agile Scrum Methodology?

The phrase "What Is Agile Scrum Methodology?" significantly misrepresents both Agile and Scrum. Agile is not synonymous with Scrum, and strictly adhering to Scrum does not guarantee an organization's agility. Indeed, many would argue that a rigid application of Scrum concepts—such as strict timeboxing, division of Scrum Masters and Product Owners, etc. — doesn't inherently lead to a positive change in organizational agility.

These elements, without a deeper understanding and implementation of Agile principles, can become mere formalities and even barriers rather than the intended catalysts for change we want them to be. The focus should instead be on fostering adaptable, feedback-responsive teams that prioritize continuous flow and improvement, drawing from a broad body of knowledge that spans far beyond Scrum or any single framework.

This broader Agile perspective emphasizes people, interactions, and value delivery over strict adherence to ANY predefined roles and artifacts, including the ones recommended by Scrum.

worst scrum agile question

7- Agile vs Traditional Project Management| Which Is Better for Your Organization in 2024?

Framing the comparison as "Agile vs Traditional Project Management | Which Is Better for Your Organization in 2024?" misses the essential understanding that Agile is fundamentally not a project management methodology. Agile is a mindset, and a collection of principles focused on helping organizations form into small *teams* that deliver value through adaptive, collaborative, and iterative practices. 

Teams are responsible for all the value related to an outcome, not just delivering the initial product as part of a project. Agility only goes up when teams stay together long enough to deliver and operate and eventually own their market outcomes.  Agile principles can enhance how work is approached and executed, including project work, but you use agile to foster team environments that outlast and have bigger scope than any one project. 


At Agile By Design, we want to continue to help our clients be awesome at what they do, and for them to feel awesome doing it.  Part of that mission involves clarifying the intent and meaning behind moving to a new operating culture, getting to the very practical, if visionary, heart of what it means to make this shift.

Will you join us on this mission? Here’s to a future where we can all work in healthier organizations where creating value for customers is simpler, easier, and more enjoyable. If you have other bad Agile questions, we’d be happy to address them in a future post.

Or better yet, contact us here.