cargo cult

A name drawn from the phenomenon of certain South Sea islanders who believed that by building mockups of airplanes and constructing runways that they could bring back the planes and all the wealth that accompanied them during World War II, when advance U.S. bases in the Pacific used the islands as staging areas. So, by reconstructing or simulating the artifacts of a situation, they could affect its occurrence. The goal is to avoid cargo-cult adoption of agile (going through the motions without understanding why). Issues with cargo cults include:

  • Belief that imitating actions alone produces desired results
  • Correlation implies causation
  • Process is more important than core principles
  • No need to know the foundational “why” that underlies the mechanics of an agile process like Scrum