Agility is about more than just process. It’s as much about people and values as it is about process.
Q: Why do we need agility? A: Business isn’t a matter of simply having a great
idea and then delivering it…
Agile is a shift in values.
- Agile: Frequent feedback and experiments. Traditional: Assumptions
- Agile: Small steps and ruthless prioritization. Traditional: Big schedules
- Agile: Self-organizing teams. Traditional: Command and control
- Agile: Checks and balances. Traditional: Hierarchy
- Agile: Collaboration. Traditional: Silos
- Agile: Quality of work. Traditional: Volume of work
Tell me more…
- Feedback. An opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t. Then we can adapt accordingly.
- Small steps. Great things are achieved one small step at a time. More iterations means more feedback. What’s the smallest amount of work that will yield a useful result?
- Experiments. Experiments take time. Building on false assumptions takes longer.
- Self-organizing teams. De-centralized (like the internet). Fewer bottlenecks make the team more resilient.
- Quality/simplicity. Maximize the quality of work done, not the volume of work done. Do less, better.
- Collaboration. Goes hand-in-hand with communication and conversation.
- Talent. Talent remains the foundation of everything we do.
Self-organizing teams rely on checks and balances. Setup correctly, it promotes de-centralised order that is adaptable to change.
Traditional management, at it’s best, promotes order which is resistant to change. At worst, it promotes centralized chaos.
What about accountability? Peers are accountable to each other. The team as a whole shares responsibility for delivering value.
Some people paint agile as a neat model. Don’t be fooled. Agile isn’t neat. Business isn’t neat. The world isn’t neat. We will have disagreements and failures. But we have a secret weapon: Experiments.
Experiments give us a framework to resolve disagreements. Experiments give us a framework to fail small and fail often and fail fast.