Mishkin Berteig made a great point last week about how The Agile Planning Onion is Wrong. Mishkin notes that “culture both surrounds the planning onion and cuts right through it” . He goes on to suggest that we update the metaphor to at least allude to the double-loop of learning in order to foster a more conscious approach to applying learning and planning to the organizational culture as well as the product. And then he asked for some help with creating a new diagram…
Serendipitously, Mishkin’s post came shortly after I attended Luke Hohmann’s keynote on Innovation Games at Agile Games 2011, during which he proclaimed that the Planning Onion ought to be replaced by the Planning Flame “because Agile Teams Burn HOT!”. Having some pyromaniacal tendencies myself, my interest was sparked by the idea of the Planning Flame. I like how it conveys a sense of creating energy and shedding light on things rather than just growing quietly in the dirt. If you extend this notion to incorporate the idea of culture as the medium in which all of this combustion happens — or where things can fizzle out if the atmosphere doesn’t contain the right mix of environmental attributes to support the flame — you might end up with:
Mishkin also commented that the flame metaphor supports the idea of change; flame is never static and always transforms what it touches.
Sorry planning onion – you’re cooked.