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120+ Great Agile Quotes to Inspire Your Team

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“The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation,” said British writer Isaac D’Israeli. Below, you’ll find a collection of insights from some of the world’s brightest. When these quotes enter a willing mind, amazing things can happen.

 “A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool.”

Joseph Roux, a French priest, poet, and philologist

Find the Agile quote you’re looking for by jumping to a specific category here:

🧠 Agile mindset quotes

The following sayings illustrate an agile principle. They help build, keep, or refresh your agile mindset.

  1. “Agile is an attitude, not a technique with boundaries. An attitude has no boundaries, so we wouldn’t ask ‘can I use agile here’, but rather ‘how would I act in the agile way here?’ or ‘how agile can we be, here?'” – Alistair Cockburn, signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (source)
  2. “Unfortunately, in their desire to be agile (with a lowercase a), many firms have attempted to do Agile (with an uppercase A). They have traded a goal for an orthodoxy—adopting the methods and certifications but not the theory behind them. And this is fatal.” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  3. “My advice is to stop emphasizing the process frameworks and start focusing on the company culture and mindsets. Get clear on the values you want to operate under and actually embody those values in every area of the company.” – Selena Delesie, agile coach and trainer (source)
  4. “Half-Done Is Not Done. A half-built car simply ties up resources that could be used to create value or save money. Anything that’s ‘in process’ costs money and energy without delivering anything. – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  5. “The most expensive way to test your idea is to build production quality software.” – Jeff Patton, agile coach and trainer (source)
  6. “Flow is the movement and delivery of customer value through a process. In knowledge work, our whole reason for existence is to deliver value to the customer. Therefore, it stands to reason that our whole process should be oriented around optimizing flow.” – Daniel Vacanti in Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability
  7. “The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Harrington Emerson, management consultant (source)
  8. “In a bureaucracy, serving the internal systems and processes takes precedence over serving customers… In Agile organizations, everyone in the organization has a clear line of sight to the ultimate customer or user and can see how work is adding value to that customer or user—or not” – Stephen Denning in Agile’s Ten Implementation Challenges
  9. “Don’t focus on delivering a whole list of things—everything and the kitchen sink—focus on delivering what’s valuable, what people actually want or need.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  10. “Understanding your customer—their demographics and psychographics, their wants and needs and pain points—is the foundation of your company. Your product, team, culture, sales, marketing, support, pricing—everything is shaped by that understanding.” – Tony Fadell in Build
  11. “Things work better when you focus on the product and its needs, rather than the organization or the equipment, so that all the activities needed to design, order, and provide a product occur in continuous flow.” – James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in Lean Thinking
  12. “We coach the whole person who shows up in front of us, not just the work side and not just the life side but whatever combination they bring. We do this because work done well cannot be separated from personhood done well. And agile done well cannot be separated from values lived well.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  13. “Remember: it’s not the documentation that needs to be kept in sync, but the people.” – George Dinwiddie, software development consultant and coach (source confirmed by email)
  14. “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – various sources (often misattributed to Stephen Hawking)
  15. “A lack of understanding of the theory leaves you unable to differentiate between a necessary aspect of a method and an arbitrary one.” – John Yorke, Agile coach
  16. “If you want to build a successful product, you need to understand your customers’ actual behavior—their reality—not the story they tell themselves.” – Teresa Torres in Continuous Discovery Habits
  17. “The more inventory you have, the less likely you are to have the one part you actually need.” – Taiichi Ohno, creator of Toyota Production system (source: Lean Thinking)
  18. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius (source)

💪 Agile motivational quotes

Sometimes, following through on agile principles and processes is challenging. When you’re tempted to give up and return to your old ways of working, read through these quotes to rekindle your motivation.

  1. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett, author (source)
  2. “The joke is that it takes twenty years to make an overnight success. In business, it’s more like six to ten. It always takes longer than you think to find product/market fit, to get your customers’ attention, to build a complete solution, and then to make money.” – Tony Fadell in Build
  3. “Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Oliver Goldsmith, author (source)
  4. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – source unknown (often misattributed to Winston Churchill)
  5. “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” – James Cameron, filmmaker (source)
  6. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” – Barack Obama, former US president (source)
  7. “Success has been defined as the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” – source unknown, (often misattributed to Winston Churchill)
  8. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt, former US president, in Citizenship in a Republic speech (quoted by Jeff Sutherland in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time)

🔍️ Agile retrospective quotes

How can you practice continuous improvement without pausing to reflect on lessons learned? For this reason, holding retrospectives is an essential part of agile, and these quotes reflect its importance.

  1. “If you adopt only one agile practice, let it be retrospectives. Everything else will follow.” – Woody Zuill, Agile coach, on Twitter
  2. “The important thing is not your process, the important thing is your process for improving your process.” – Henrik Kniberg, Agile coach and author, on Twitter
  3. “Don’t just get better once; get better constantly. Always be looking for something to improve. Never, ever settle for where you are. How you get there is to be constantly creating experiments to see if you can achieve improvement. If I try this method, is it better? How about this one? What if I change just this one thing?” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  4. “Optimism is an occupational hazard of programming: feedback is the treatment.” – Kent Beck, XP trainer and author, in Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change
  5. “‘Take it to the team.’ Take any perceived problem to the team. They know what’s really happening and what to do about it. Everyone can rely on the cadence agile gives them to consider such problems. It’s called the retrospective.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  6. “One of the most self-destructive tendencies within teams is to get so busy that we believe there’s no time to get better at how we work. One of my favorite comics of all time illustrates this beautifully. A few people are struggling mightily to pull a cart full of stones up a hill. The cart is outfitted with surprisingly square wheels. Another man who has happened upon them offers an innovation: round wheels. ‘No thanks!’ they say. ‘We are too busy.’ That is your team. That is almost every team I’ve ever worked with.” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  7. “It doesn’t matter how good you are today; if you’re not better next month, you’re no longer agile. You must always, always, always try to improve.” – Mike Cohn, Agile trainer and author, in Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum
  8. “There should be no shame in admitting to a mistake; after all, we really are only admitting that we are now wiser than we once were.” – Greg McKeown in Essentialism
  9. “Perhaps nothing is more important to exploration and discovery than the art of asking good questions. Questions are fire-starters: they ignite people’s passions and energy; they create heat; and they illuminate things that were previously obscure.” – Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo in Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
  10. “The best students in school tend to be the worst at learning from their mistakes, because they have been conditioned to associate mistakes with failure instead of opportunity. This is a major impediment to their progress. Intelligent people who embrace their mistakes and weaknesses substantially outperform their peers who have the same abilities but bigger ego barriers.” – Ray Dalio in Principles: Life and Work
  11. “Retrospectives should match the rhythm of the work they’re evaluating. The questions to ask yourself are ‘How fast are we learning? How fast do we want to learn?’” – Aaron Dignan (source)

📈 Agile project management quotes

Mentioning “agile” and “project management” in the same breath is heresy to some; they say you either do project management or you’re agile. We say “no matter” – you can manage projects, products, and processes with agile principles, and the following quotes come in handy when you do so.

  1. “Keep your roadmap simple and easy to understand. Capture what really matters and leave out the rest by focusing on the goals.” – Roman Pichler, Agile trainer and author (source)
  2. “Build less, start sooner.” – Jim Highsmith in Adaptive Leadership
  3. “If we have a fully defined backlog, we no longer have a true Agile Product Development situation. Instead, we have a project: a list of stuff all of which has to be done.” – Ron Jeffries, signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (source)
  4. “A task card without a limit is not a kanban in the same way that a photocopy of a dollar bill is not money.” – Corey Ladas in Scrumban
  5. “The actions you take today have the biggest impact on your predictability tomorrow.” – Daniel Vacanti in Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability
  6. “Stop starting and start finishing!” – Andy Hiles in Applying Scrum with Kanban
  7. “No Heroics. If you need a hero to get things done, you have a problem. Heroic effort should be viewed as a failure of planning.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  8. “Any time you try to shove items into a system at a faster rate than items can exit the system, you are met with disastrous consequences. This principle seems immediately obvious and intuitive. Yet, for whatever reason, we constantly ignore this rule when we manage knowledge work.” – Daniel Vacanti in Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability
  9. “Our goal when we face the complexity and uncertainty of work should be to understand our workflow as a minimum first step. Our next step is to actively manage items in that workflow and indeed the workflow itself.” – Andy Hiles in Applying Scrum with Kanban
  10. “Once you eliminate your number one problem, number two gets a promotion.” – Gerald M. Weinberg in The Secrets of Consulting
  11. “You should never—and I mean never—communicate a forecast that does not include at least two things: a date range and a probability for that date range occurring.” – Daniel Vacanti in Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability
  12. “The ideal work planning process should always provide the development team with best [sic] thing to work on next, no more and no less. Further planning beyond this does not add value and is therefore waste.” – Corey Ladas in Scrumban
  13. “If a bug was addressed on the day it was created, it would take an hour to fix; three weeks later, it would take twenty-four hours. It didn’t even matter if the bug was big or small, complicated or simple—it always took twenty-four times longer three weeks later.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  14. “Setting oneself on a predetermined course in unknown waters is the perfect way to sail straight into an iceberg.” – Henry Mintzberg, author of The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning
  15. “If you don’t collect any metrics, you’re flying blind. If you collect and focus on too many, they may be obstructing your field of view.” – Scott M. Graffius in Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions (source)
  16. “If you follow 80% of the process, you get 20% of the results.” – Kent Beck, signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (source)
    email from kent beck verifying his 80/20 quote
  17. “The more detailed we made our plans, the longer our cycle times became.” – Donald G. Reinertsen in The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development
  18. “Trying to restrict a human endeavor of any scope to color-coded charts and graphs is foolish and doomed to failure. It’s not how people work, and it’s not how projects progress.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  19. “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” – Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man-Month
  20. “If you seek to plot out all your moves before you make them—if you put your faith in slow, deliberative planning in the hopes it will spare you failure down the line—well, you’re deluding yourself. For one thing, it’s easier to plan derivative work—things that copy or repeat something already out there. So if your primary goal is to have a fully worked out, set-in-stone plan, you are only upping your chances of being unoriginal.” – Ed Catmull in Creativity, Inc.

👨‍💼 Agile leadership quotes

Agile shouldn’t just be practiced by teams in the trenches. Agile transformations happen when an organization’s leadership changes their minds and ways of working, too. These quotes highlight why and how.

  1. “Agile leaders lead teams, non-agile ones manage tasks.” – Jim Highsmith in Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products
  2. “Don’t pump the brakes, only steer the wheel.” – Rob Faludi, product management consultant (source confirmed by email)
  3. “The average team doesn’t spend even thirty minutes a week reflecting on how they work together. They are going to need your help to stop this pattern and clear a path. Because we can’t learn if there’s no time to think. Teams need time for retrospection. They need time for personal reflection. They need time for deep work. They need time to run experiments and find a better way. You can create these opportunities for them, or you can empower them to create them for themselves.” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  4. “Management has tapped the power of industry, sent men to the moon, saved the lives of the wounded and the sick, and won and lost wars. And now we need systems that can solve the complex, systemic threats of climate change, brittle development aid flow, and networked terrorism. This makes management one of the fundamental limfacs [limiting factors] to the quest for human progress.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams
  5. “‘Hire the best’ is an elitist and ultimately lazy management philosophy. Comically, that attitude is often accompanied by an unwillingness to pay top dollar for such talent… The quality of the relationships between qualified players is usually more important than the individual performances.” – Corey Ladas in Scrumban
  6. “To hell with your competitors; compete against perfection by identifying all activities that are muda [waste] and eliminating them. This is an absolute rather than a relative standard which can provide the essential North Star for any organization.” – James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in Lean Thinking
  7. “Being a mature contributor to a self-managing organization means accepting the fact that your voice doesn’t need to be in every decision. Once you start optimizing for org success and not your own ego things get easier.” – Sam Spurlin, partner at The Ready, on Twitter
  8. “For a leader, there is no such thing as a trivial comment. Something you might not even remember saying may have had a devastating impact on someone looking to you for guidance and approval.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  9. “As the team grew past 120–150, everything changed. You started seeing faces you didn’t recognize—are these people our employees? Partners? Friends who came for lunch? You don’t know all the nitty-gritty details of what’s going on anymore. And you can’t just walk into a meeting without freaking everyone out. Why is the CEO here? What’s wrong?” – Tony Fadell in Build

🧢 Agile coaching quotes

An Agile Coach supports an organization in creating and improving its agile processes and practices. They teach, show, and embody values that help companies and their people build an agile culture. These quotes explain and celebrate their work.

  1. “Agile coaching is more about who you are and what behaviors you model than it is about any specific technique or idea you bring to the team… I would say that agile coaching is 40% doing and 60% being. The powerful (silent) influence you have because of who you are and how agile values shine through your every move should not be underestimated.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  2. “People don’t change because you want them to change, people change when they’re ready to change. So, understanding why, and when, and how people change is probably the biggest thing you can learn” – Ron Quartel, agile coach (source)
  3. “When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion.” – Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, psychologist and author (source: Coaching Agile Teams)
  4. “A ScrumMaster who takes teams beyond getting agile practices up and running into their deliberate and joyful pursuit of high performance is an agile coach.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  5. “It is interesting to note that the words silent and listen contain all of the same letters, just rearranged.” – Suzanne Marsh (source: Coaching Agile Teams)
  6. “A project manager and an agile coach are not even as much alike as a house cat and a jaguar. They are simply not in the same family. A project manager plans and controls, supervising throughout. A coach guides. A project manager’s success equals the success of the project. An agile coach’s success equals the team’s continual improvement and their pursuit of high performance. The two are focused on completely different things and thus act completely differently.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  7. “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.” – Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee (Source: Coaching Agile Teams)
  8. “You’re not going to hit the mark all the time. You will make mistakes. You will lose your cool and yell. Your mind will wander during the stand-up meeting. You will skillfully manipulate people into doing what you think is right for the team. The most important thing you can do in the face of your mistake is to model the agile value of openness. Transparently and with humility, simply own up to the impact of the mistake, and apologize for it.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  9. “What are you coaching for? You’re looking for the quality of the conversation, not the content. The subject matter of the conversation matters not. The quality does. When the team converses, don’t join in and act as a team member. There are already enough team members. Be a coach instead. Help them improve their conversations so that they can come up with higher-quality ideas that translate directly to the products they build.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
  10. “What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.” – Chip Heath and Dan Heath in Switch

🐸 Agile transformation quotes

Agile implementations and transformations are an art that few have mastered. The quotations below highlight what’s necessary to get them right – and why they often go wrong.

  1. “When I go into a company I usually find that about 85 percent of effort is wasted. Only a sixth of any of the work done actually produces something of value. Deep within ourselves, as we repeat the rhythm of our days, we know that’s true. That’s why we all laugh, a bit nervously, at jokes about the inherent insanity and wastefulness of life in a modern corporation.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  2. “Successful organizations have cultures in which evidence-based decision making is the norm rather than the exception.” – Ray Dalio in Principles: Life and Work
  3. “There have been cases where I specifically decided to not work in an Agile way to achieve the best results. There isn’t one size fits all, you need to pick the best approach given the context you’re operating in. Agile is hot and popular, but that doesn’t mean it is always the best solution.” – Maarten Dalmijn, author and product management coach (source)
  4. “You can’t blow up bureaucracy with a bureaucratic change process. You can’t build a culture of trust with a program full of oversight and verification. Start the way you mean to finish.” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  5. “Adopting agile can feel worse before it feels better. Problems and tensions often become more visible, which can be uncomfortable for some teams. But when tensions are more visible, you have a better opportunity to solve them.” Jordan Husney, CEO at Parabol (source)
  6. “Don’t move information to authority, move authority to the information.” – L. David Marquet in Turn the Ship Around!
  7. “Big bang agile rollouts are much more likely to fail. It’s best to start with something simple like Scrum and Kanban on a few teams and then to scale up through experimentation.” – Murray Robinson, agile coach (source)
  8. “If we truly want to be Agile, we are going to have to adopt the language of our customers. To that end, we must choose words and concepts that they are comfortable with—not force them to learn a new, arbitrary, and unhelpful vocabulary.” – Daniel Vacanti in Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability
  9. “By making ourselves indispensable, we make our teams and organizations less resilient. In complexity, our job isn’t perfection, it’s building a culture that is always learning. And that requires letting go.” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  10. “Agile is not your goal—it’s only the best way to achieve your goals.” – Zuzana Šochová in The Agile Leader: Leveraging the Power of Influence
  11. “The models of organizational success that dominated the twentieth century have their roots in the industrial revolution and, simply put, the world has changed. The pursuit of ‘efficiency’—getting the most with the least investment of energy, time, or money—was once a laudable goal, but being effective in today’s world is less a question of optimizing for a known (and relatively stable) set of variables than responsiveness to a constantly shifting environment. Adaptability, not efficiency, must become our central competency.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams
  12. “People are what make companies agile, not approaches, methodologies or tools.” – Pedro Gaspar Fernandes, consultant and trainer (source confirmed by email)
  13. “Small things in a complex system may have no effect or a massive one, and it is virtually impossible to know which will turn out to be the case.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams
  14. “The most important spur to perfection is transparency, the fact that in a lean system everyone—subcontractors, first-tier suppliers, system integrators (often called assemblers), distributors, customers, employees—can see everything, and so it’s easy to discover better ways to create value.” – James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in Lean Thinking
  15. “As you travel down a traditional org chart, motivation and contextual awareness become more limited and specific, and more remote from the organization’s overall strategic aims.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams
  16. “Culture is like a shadow: You cannot change it, but it changes all the time.” – Niels Pflaeging, author and consultant (source: Brave New Work)
  17. “We found that, even as speed increased and we pushed authority further down, the quality of decisions actually went up.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams
  18. “If you have fifty people who understand your culture and add a hundred who don’t, you will lose that culture. It’s just math.” – Tony Fadell in Build
  19. “Order can emerge from the bottom up, as opposed to being directed, with a plan, from the top down.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams
  20. “A lean production system can seem almost supernatural to an inexperienced observer. People, processes, and technology magically seem to appear at the right time, do exactly what is needed, and no more.” – James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in Lean Thinking
  21. “Improving workflow, the way value is created, is a continual source of advantage for the firms that do it. They gain speed, quality, efficiency, and in many cases simplicity. Yet it’s routinely overlooked in favor of cosmetic changes to structure that rarely change how work gets done.” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  22. “Interconnectedness and the ability to transmit information instantly can endow small groups with unprecedented influence: the garage band, the dorm-room start-up, the viral blogger, and the terrorist cell.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams

🏉 Scrum quotes

Scrum deserves a section of its own as the most popular agile framework

  1. “Any Scrum without working product at the end of a sprint is a failed Scrum.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  2. “A sprint would only be a failure if the team didn’t deliver anything and didn’t learn from it.” – Mike Cohn, Agile trainer and author (source confirmed by email)
  3. “Each Sprint is an experiment. Through conducting each Sprint we are trying to determine ‘Did we answer the problem we intended to solve?’” – Andy Hiles in Applying Scrum with Kanban
  4. “Three bloody roles, Scrum has, and only three. If you can’t get that right, don’t call it Scrum, OK?” – Ron Jeffries, signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (source)
  5. “Engineers like to build products using the coolest new technology. Sales wants to build products that will make them a lot of money. But the product manager’s sole focus and responsibility is to build the right products for their customers. That’s the job.” – Tony Fadell in Build
  6. “Practicing Scrum with a project mindset is like playing hockey with a basketball.” – Rick Waters, business agility coach and trainer (source confirmed by email)
  7. “The reason this framework [Scrum] works is simple. I looked at how people actually work, rather than how they say they work.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  8. “Scrum without automation is like driving a sports car on a dirt track – you won’t experience the full potential, you will get frustrated, and you will probably end up blaming the car…” – Ilan Goldstein in Scrum Shortcuts Without Cutting Corners
  9. “Scrum embraces uncertainty and creativity. It places a structure around the learning process, enabling teams to assess both what they’ve created and, just as important, how they created it. The Scrum framework harnesses how teams actually work and gives them the tools to self-organize and rapidly improve both speed and quality of work.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  10. “Every great product owner needs a great Scrum Master.” – Roman Pichler, Agile trainer and author (source)
  11. “If you think certifying your project managers in Scrum is going to topple your bureaucracy, you’re in for some major disappointment. Agility is a mindset, not a tool set. It’s a piece of the puzzle, not the whole thing. It is necessary but not sufficient.” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  12. “The heart of Scrum is rhythm. Rhythm is deeply important to human beings. Its beat is heard in the thrumming of our blood and rooted in some of the deepest recesses of our brains. We’re pattern seekers, driven to seek out rhythm in all aspects of our lives.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
  13. “Have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Have the necessary means to achieve your ends. Adjust all your means to that end.” – Aristotle (source)

🤣 Funny agile quotes

Work without fun isn’t agile – few teams ever produce anything great when there’s never time to laugh. Let these quotes put a smile on your face and act as a reminder that taking agile too seriously is neither healthy nor necessary.

  1. “Scrum is like your mother-in-law, it points out ALL your faults.” – Ken Schwaber, Scrum trainer and author
  2. “The Law is the so called Law of Two Feet, which states simply, if at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing – use you two feet and move to some place more to you liking.” – Harrison Owen, inventor Open Space Technology, Opening Space for Emerging Order
  3. “Although self-organizing is a good term, it has, unfortunately, become confused with anarchy.” – Jim Highsmith in Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products
  4. “Big egos have little ears.” – Robert Schuller, pastor and author
  5. “Estimates are like the best lie we can give you.” – Mike Beedle, signatory of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development
  6. “Agile is like Churchill’s democracy, the worst possible solution until compared to the alternatives.” – David Starr, agile trainer
  7. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra (source)
  8. “In my first meeting with a new project team, invariably someone will say, ‘When should we meet again . . . maybe three weeks from today?’ And I’ll reply, ‘What do you think we can ship by Friday?'” – Aaron Dignan in Brave New Work
  9. “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude higher than to produce it.” – Tony Fadell, citing Brandolini’s law, in Build
  10. “As a general rule of thumb, when benefits are not quantified at all, assume there aren’t any.” – Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister in Walking with Bears
  11. “An organization that treats its programmers as morons will soon have programmers that are willing and able to act like morons only.” – Bjarne Stroustrup, computer scientist (source)

A list for life

Hopefully, this list is for life – not a useless pebble but a diamond of wisdom you return to often. Come back when you need inspiration or to find a quote to refresh the minds of others about agile.

Let’s end with a moment of gratitude for all the people quoted here. For us to list and bookmark these nuggets of knowledge, they spent years working, thinking, writing, striving, living.

Besides being a diamond to a man of wit and a pebble to a fool, let this list be a compliment to those we quoted here.

“Quotation is the highest compliment you can pay to an author.”

André-Marie Ampère, French physicist and mathematician
Tim Metz

Tim Metz

Tim Metz crafts content at Animalz for the world’s most amazing startups. He’s passionate about deep work and work-life balance.

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