Ssssh….Agile Is All About Micromanaging

Sometimes when I'm teaching a Certified ScrumMaster class, I let the attendees in on the deep, dark secret of agile: It's all about micromanagement. Almost every principle and practice of agile is there to support micromangagement.

  • The daily scrum is about micro-managing the team's daily work plans and making sure that everyone is doing what they say they'll do.
  • Continuous integration is put in place so that the minute some developer screws up and breaks a build, it becomes known.
  • Pair programming is about making sure that programmers don't lose focus, don't goldplate, don't work on only the fun stuff, and that they clean things up.

Ah, but who is it that is doing this micromanagement? It's the team. Yes, agile is about micromanagment, but it's about the team micromanaging themselves and for their own benefit.



About the Author

As the founder of Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of agile processes and techniques to build extremely high-performance teams. He is the author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile. Mike is a founding member of the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance. He is also the founder of, an online agile training website. He can be reached at or connect with Mike on Google+.