The Action Engineering team embraces an Agile mindset & Scrum practices in our work.
Our Agile Series shares tips & coaching opportunities that work well for us.
The current corporate buzz word is ‘Agile’. If you have it on your corporate buzz word bingo board, chances are you’ll be IM-ing your work buddies that you hit a “B-I-N-G-O” pretty quickly into your next company town hall. Since Agile is such a trendy word, what does it really mean? Depending on where you work it can mean the seating arrangement you have, a just-in-time manufacturing approach, or it can be referencing the incremental development.
To set the record straight, whenever Action Engineering discusses Agile, we are referencing a group of methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through cross-functional collaboration and frequent inspection and adaption.
Now that we are on the same page about the definition of Agile, we begin to question the difference between Being Agile and Doing Agile. The ability to go from simply doing Agile to being Agile will transform how your team works.
If you are simply doing Agile, you probably read a few websites, watched a few videos, and started having your team do a daily standup. You took the online recommendations to heart, so you stuck to the daily 15-minute standup, the two-week sprints, and faithfully reviewed velocity during the sprint review.
While this might work for a bit, by simply adopting Agile practices without living the Agile principles, this approach isn’t sustainable. Two week sprints might be too long or too short depending on your team. If your team splits their time between a few projects, a daily standup might not be beneficial since there might not be that much that changes on a day-to-day basis. If the project team is comprised of experts who can’t share work, then estimating story points to determine velocity might not be very helpful.
To take your Agile practices to the next level, you need to embrace the concept of being Agile. If you fully embrace agile, you are living and breathing the Agile principles and values. When you are truly ‘being Agile’, you are working on the most important work first, engaging in early and frequent communication with teammates and customers, embracing and managing change, and demonstrating work to stakeholders. When we are truly being Agile, we understand the why behind each principle of Agile.
We are able to harness these whys into making these principles work for us and our teams. If we understand the why of the daily stand ups, we might shift from a daily, in-person stand up to a daily, group text stand up if the development team is spread out a different time zones. Transitioning from doing Agile into being Agile takes practice and work. It’s almost as if we are learning a new language or a new sport.
If you’ve tried to implement Scrum or Agile principles in your life, let us know! We love the challenge of applying Scrum to unique situations. Send us a message!