Nov 4, 2014

Agile State of Mind has been lost in the journey towards Agile

First statement in Agile manifesto is “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. When people talk about Agile SW development, much of the talk is about processes and tools. If they are not talking about Scrum or Kanban, then it’s about code reviews or Test Driven Development. Too often the basis for all of this is forgotten.

I think there has been a clear vision of all of this. Back in the years that this movement started, Agile Manifesto was written with careful thinking. Somehow the message got lost in the way. Currently there are so many different methodologies and processes, that have been introduced under the Agile umbrella, that what really is Agile is unclear.

In team sports, there’s always ongoing trends on playing tactics. In football, at the time Barcelona and Spain was dominating, many teams wanted to play like them. What often went wrong was that teams and especially the players didn’t seem to understand the ideology behind the tactics well enough. They were just mimicking the ways others play, but didn’t really understood the reasoning of why to play like that. This lead to the problem, that in a second that there came a problem which didn’t have ready made solution, players didn’t know how to act. This was all because they didn’t understand the reasoning why they had done some of the things in the field like they had.

I believe this same is happening with Agile. People are happy and productive when everything is going like the books have told. At the moment there comes something unexpected, people don’t understand the logic of making choices. Making choices in SW development is never easy. For example in Backlog creation, there needs to be done many guesses and estimates on items when prioritising it. Creating user story items or what ever we call them, is never exact science and always needs judgement from the person in charge.

Focus in many organizations should go towards how to successfully create SW products with Agile State of Mind. That’s at the end what SW development is all about, creating SW for customers. Being Agile in SW development means, that focus should be on creating more value to the customer with improved ways of working. Not just to improve the ways of working.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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