Stop doing Agile, Start Thinking Agility

Stop doing Agile, Start Thinking AgilityIt’s interesting that when our understanding matures, things people said to you years earlier have more meaning and depth.  The title of this blog was something David Anderson said during his Agile and Beyond 2012 keynote.  Of all the interesting things I heard at that conference, that phrase has stuck with me ever since.

Stop doing Agile, Start Thinking Agility

The reason I have been thinking about this as of late is because of a user group talk I plan on attending in a couple days.  The topic is about Agile and more particularly, Scrum.

What I find really interesting as of over the last couple of years is that Agile and Scrum are being used interchangeably to those new to the industry.  Scrum appears to be the standard framework software teams are now using for developing software.

But are they using it as a framework or as a prescription?

Process vs Purpose

If you use Scrum and perform daily standups, ask yourself why you actually do them?

Really, why do you do them?

If you use them as a status update because you describe what you did yesterday, what you are doing today and what obstacles you face.  That’s not why, that’s describing what.

Responding to Change over Following a Plan

The purpose of a daily standup is to be used as a daily re-planning of your sprint.  It’s a daily retrospective.

How you can you be agile and change to meet your (sprint) goal.

It’s your daily reflection on how you can “turn down the suck, turn up the good”.

Understand the Why not What

I think it’s really important to focus on the why and not the what.  We already know this as developers when talking with our customers and trying to understand their business problems.  We dig into the why.

Yet we seemingly fail so often to ask ourselves why when it comes to all other aspects of writing software.  From the tools we use to the process we follow.

Don’t throw out your process

One approach David Anderson mentioned back in 2012 was to keep what you are doing now and start improving agility.  I think still holds true today.  It’s simply just continuous improvement. Identify pain points, one at a time and improve them.  Identify what works and amplify it.