Deciding vs. Doing Agile

Let’s start off by understanding that Doing Agile is not the same as Being Agile.  In Being Agile, that consists of a cultural shift to an Agile mindset, and this is when the transformation occur and you start to achieve excellence through engaged employees all working together towards a common goal “crazy right”. We as an organization, need to start to provide clarity of purpose and teaching competence.

We’re changing the words that we’re using, but we don’t adopt the agility that really matters and we don’t really trust each other.The idea of Agile by itself is not really enough it’s the idea of having a single source of truth in being to pull all the information for the things you’re doing in a new way (i.e. Agile Lean or whatever buzz word you want to use), but also all the traditional things you’re doing, getting that all in one place, such as, being able to pull metrics, being able to create reports, being able to understand where every dollar that you spend and development goes, and having that at your fingertips in real-time, instead of it being a large effort every time you want to pull that information forward.

The point is to Be Agile and embrace and employ the philosophy outlined in the Agile Manifesto, and you will “do” agile automatically.   If you’re following a one-size-fits-all Agile “process” mandated for all teams, you’re doing it wrong. The notion of a “standard” Agile process is contradictory, Agile means adapting and improving, continuously.  Remember that the main goal is to deliver working software, there’s not a silver bullet that will always work for every project and team. Therefore, let each team adopt their own practices and take responsibility for adjusting and improving them.

The Agile Manifesto

Agile software development is based on the Agile Manifesto:

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

—Kent Beck, James Grenning, Robert C. Martin, Mike Beedle, Jim Highsmith, Steve Mellor, Arie van Bennekum, Andrew Hunt, Ken Schwaber, Alistair Cockburn, Ron Jeffries, Jeff Sutherland, Ward Cunningham, Jon Kern, Dave Thomas, Martin Fowler, Brian Marick

© 2001, the above authors. 

Remember…Don’t Do Agile! Be Agile!

How have you adopted and adapted Agile software development methodologies to your projects?  If so, share your story below in the comments.

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