I have been wanting to write this post for a while, but I kept finding things I had not thought through. Hence, all the other blog posts I have written up to this point are supporting this post in some way or another.
A lot of people say they do "agile development". But can you actually say that? What is an agile development methodology if we remove all the buzzwords? And is an agile methodology even a thing we should strive to reach? Or is an agile methodology born to fail because the essence of agile is to do what works for your team and your project.
As I mentioned earlier, mindset is important in the agile methodologies. Without a good agile mindset it is very likely that the project will fail and the team will fall apart, especially if pressured from the outside.
In an agile world people tend to think that no rules exist and no disciple is needed. But this is far from the reality. In the agile world you need much more disciplin to excel. Because the process is less likely to tell you want you need to do and when you need to do it. Instead we need to act on the feeling of ownership. As I mentioned here ownership can't be neglected!
All the Agile Methodologies, are built upon iterations and empowering the teams to make decisions on the process, not managers above them. Because only then can the teams grow and become self-contained high-performance teams.
But all is not perfect with an agile methodology. We could end up struggling a lot if our project was not meant for an agile methodology in the first place, which might be the case.
Context Adaptive Approach
One of my favorite articles is the Context Adaptive Agility: Managing Complexity and Uncertainty by Todd Little.
This articles introduces some really nice concepts about how to tackle different kinds of projects. And one of the first things to realise is: The Agile Process is not a "one-size-fits-all".
One thing people also tend to forget is that a project is a living thing. It is not static. It develops along the way when you begin to work on it. Hence, your process should do the same! What starts out as a really simple project might all of the sudden become complex and require much more control over deliverables.
This approach can really give some insights into the tools required for the project and for the team. And you might gain some insights along the way that will move the project around.
I'm not going to give a recap of the article because it is worth a read and contains much more detail than I can recap in a blog post. But a key take away is to remember that projects evolve over time, and different projects requires different tools.
But, if ownership have been created within the team the team is likely to feel when the projects evolve and update the process along the way.
Go do! Try something! It can be very scary trying something new. But this is the only way to improve the process and ourselves. And if you can pick your own tools and skip the rest, we have taken a big leap towards an agile approach! Skip the things that doesn't add real value or is to cumbersome. The team will thank you!
Please let me know how it fares.
It will require blood, sweat and tears!
But as Samuel Beckett said it:
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.