me | writing
Jun 08, 2022

Writers did agile before "agile"

Tom Hosiawa • 1 min read

When I hear debates on scrum and agile now, I think they were a solution to the fixed mindset problem.

We know the future two years from now.
We know what customers want.
We know how to get them.
We know how to build it.
We assume what’s “true” today will still be true 2 years from now.
It was the waterfall mindset of the last 50+ years.

But when I first learned it in 2013, I didn’t have the history of how things used to be done. So when I listened to people who focused on the mindset, I understood.

And when I started branching out into other domains, I realized writers have been doing it since the beginning of time. They just don’t call it “agile.”

Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can't—and, in fact, you're not supposed to—know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing...Then the film emerges... "You couldn't have had any way of knowing what this piece of work would look like when you first started. You just knew that there was something about these people that compelled you, and you stayed with that something long enough for it to show you what it was about.

Additional commentary: July 21st, 2023

Unforutenly what agile became in enterprise companies today is what I like to call “paint by numbers.” Like you might do in art class. Following instructions of what colour to paint where, but not quite understanding why and how things connect. Knowledge = Random dots scattered. Experience is understanding which and how dots connect.