Skip to main content

Cliff Berg, a pioneer of the Agile Manifesto, offers an opportunity to critically question the effectiveness and costs of agility with his recent critique and proposal of Agile 2.

The idealization of Agile

Agile methods, originally conceived as a salutary answer to rigid, waterfall-like project management methods, have radically changed the way projects are managed over the last two decades.

These methods, especially Scrum and its variants, have been hailed as dynamic solutions that enable teams to work faster and more efficiently. Better in many respects, especially for the user. But faster?

The Cliff Berg effect

Cliff Berg, once a fervent advocate of agile methods, recently shared a sobering assessment of LinkedIn. He speaks of a failure of the original agile principles, which have often proved to be inflexible and dogmatic in practice. Berg’s new initiative, Agile 2, is intended to correct some of these shortcomings and advocates a balanced approach that takes both individual and team-based needs into account.

Die Ironie der Agilität

The irony of Agile

This is where the cutting criticism comes in: If Agile becomes a dogma, a one-size-fits-all solution to every business problem, then it loses its effectiveness. The analogy to communism would be apt here – a system that promises equality and efficiency in theory, but often leads to inefficiency and frustration in practice. As with any ideology, the strict application of Agile without adaptation to the context or consideration of human factors can lead to a loss of the actual value sought.

Agile and the human factor

The real challenge in implementing agility lies in the human factor. In teams where hierarchies used to define clear paths and responsibilities, agility requires a new way of working together. Every team member, regardless of their level of experience, gets a voice, which can lead to conflicts when experienced employees have to deal with the ideas of newcomers.

Agilität und der menschliche Faktor

Fast, but at what cost?

Agile encourages rapid iteration and feedback, yet projects that used to be completed in a few weeks now take months as every detail is iterated and re-evaluated.

The question remains: Does this method really promote creativity and efficiency, or does it lead to an endless loop of revisions and meetings?

A plea for flexibility

The solution could be a flexible approach to agility, one that respects the basic principles but also leaves room for customization, depending on project size, team dynamics and the client’s specific requirements. This would mean not viewing agility as a panacea, but as one of many tools available to a project manager.

In a world that is constantly changing, it is flexibility of thought, not just flexibility of methodology, that characterizes the true innovator. Become aware of the limitations of each method and use this knowledge to better adapt your way of working to the real needs of your projects and teams.

Norbert Kathriner


The review and possible realignment of Agile, as suggested by Cliff Berg, is an important step to ensure that these methods can deliver on their promise. It’s time to take a step back and evaluate not only how we work, but also why we work the way we do.

This requires in-depth consideration that goes beyond the simple application of frameworks. Perhaps it is time to redefine the promise of agility, not as a panacea, but as one tool among many in every project manager’s toolbox.


Agile Methodology:

  • Agile Alliance: This site offers an introduction to the agile methodology, explains the basic principles and the various agile practices.
  • Mountain Goat Software: A comprehensive resource area run by Mike Cohn, a well-known expert in the field of Agile. Here you will find articles, blogs and guidelines on various aspects of agile methods.


  • is one of the leading organizations dedicated to training and certification in Scrum. This page provides a detailed explanation of what Scrum is, including resources for beginners and advanced users.
  • Scrum Alliance: The Scrum Alliance offers similar resources to, but with a slightly different approach from a community and certification perspective.