Agile Project Management Is Like Teenage Sex

Agile is a marketing term that describes best practices for iterative, incremental development of technology. In general, it emphasizes people over process; short feeedback loops; regular, quick delivery of business value to the customer; and a tightly integrated co-located, collaborative team working at peak performance. If you’ve wondered about how successful startups work, or how companies like Google or top-notch performance consulting teams operate, the answer is Agile.

But Agile is also a kind of movement. There are conferences, books, a manifesto, seminars, training, videos and all sorts of other things to help you out. Sometimes this help gets kind of silly, like in the recent conference where haiku was proposed as a way of bonding the team together better. Like anything that focuses on person-to-person interaction, there’s no shortage of opinions. So because Agile focuses on the critical factors of technology development, communication and collaboration between humans, it has roots close to sales, negotiation, religion, psychology, politics, sensitivity, feelings, expectations — all of that messy people stuff.

So what happens is that there are a lot of people who are very serious about developing software as efficiently as possible chasing a lot of stories and anecdotes about just how to do that. What can I say? Sometimes it feels like geek sensitivity training.

So as a public service to the agile community, I would like to offer the reasons why Agile Project Management is like teenage sex.

  • You always exaggerate how much of it you’re getting.
  • Everybody else seems to be having more than you
  • When somebody tells you about their experiences, you’re quick to point out that they’re not doing it right
  • You spend a lot of time reading and thinking about it
  • It’s very awkward trying to make happen
  • You can’t wait until you finally get the real deal
  • Nobody is really doing that much of it anyway


If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.

8 thoughts on “Agile Project Management Is Like Teenage Sex

  1. Zackatoustra

    Hum. Ok.
    I think I’m not going to include this metaphor when I’ll try to convince my project leader to “really” switch to Agile processes!
    The parallel is so pertinent, though!

  2. Jim

    * Management’s enthusiasm and interest level in your “agile experiences” can be creepy.
    * Pictures in agile books set unrealistic expectations of reality.

  3. Richard C

    Ha, nice post. To be a bit risque:
    Agile Project Management Is Like Teenage Sex:
    Step 1: Lookup an ad online
    Step 2: Go to a seasoned pro
    Step 3: Pay them a bunch of money
    Step 4: And then do it

  4. Larry Maccherone

    Great post. The analogy pulls you in and is very entertaining, but the actual meat of the post defining agile and emphasizing “all of that messy people stuff” is spot on. When taking Ken Schwaber’s Scrum Master class, I was struck by how little time he spent on the mechanics of Scrum. Rather, he focused on attitude change and accomplishing cultural shift which was the exact right focus IMHO.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>