Skip to main content

Let's Restore Agile

Greetings!

I have been working in Agile environments for different companies for many years. We had/have a Scrum Master and Daily Standup, and that is it. That is Agile. This is what made me think "daily meetings are for bad managers".

I started reading, practicing more on Agile and found this (how-keep-your-team-from-getting-agile-wrong-hasitha-liyanage) interesting article where I got more courage to apply Agile principles, values into my team.

Where to Start?

The first thing anyone should do is to read agile manifesto. It quite amusing that even certifed scrum masters/managers have no proper understanding on the manifesto.

It Is Not About Processes

The very first princile in Agile is "team over process". What does mean is, processes have value but the team has more value. For an example we don't need Daily meetings if the team decided so. It is the team decide how to work.

Supoort and Trust

Have you ever felt Trusted and Supported? If the answer is NO, you are not working in an Agile environment. Trust is expensive, do not expect it from cheap people.

"Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done."

The Team Power

Now the question is, as development team (Dev/QA/BA) do we have enough power? Answer is NO. Most of the companies do not allow teams to become self empowered, but they ask us to be self motivated and empowered. Outsiders of the team (mangers, architects, etc) will always try to interfere in development teams work hence not allowing free decisions. This is stealing power.
If we can't fix this, we can't have proper Agile. It is very stresfull as the Team is living with fear (and you shouldn't have to).

How Can The Team Get Power?

In an Agile environments, teams get power via Product Owner. It is PO who decides what to and when to deliver by talking with stakeholders and the team. This is very good thing in Agile as those kind of extra work is removed from the Development Team. If companies give enough power to PO, where PO can decide what to and when to deliver, then we have something to relief. But if POs also do not have Agile mindset I do not see (yet) a way to fix this.

Let the PO decide on deliveries. Do not steal PO's power. Development Team should not take any work without informing PO. If sudden urgent work comes, it is PO who will decide which to remove from the Sprint Backlog.

In this way, eventhough the organization heirarchy do not allow proper Agile, we can still fight.

Releases

I just want to highlight the word "valuable" here. You are releasing, targeting many good features but are they really valuable to the customer? Think about a word processor. There are so many fancy features but how many of them do you use? Releasing "many" features is not imporant, but releasing "valuable" content is more important.

"Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software."

The Code

By experience we know that there are no completed releases. We will get change requests. If you do not anticipate this when you code you are unable to use proper Agile values. It is frustating that most of the people (including architects!) do not understand the value of good code. You can't maintain constant pace without improving the code.

"Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility."

Can We Do This?

Yes we can! First read the orginal agile manifesto again and again. Do not fear to do mistakes. Accept failures. You do not have to worry about the outsiders as long as you are doing the good things. As an Engineer, I choose the best and fastest ways to work. The best and fastest way is to use Agile.