What is Agile? How can we work Agile? Or … What is Agile in the first place?
Is it a framework? Or a project management methodology, or just some guidelines?
Surprisingly ……… Agile is none of these and at the same time, it is all of these.
What is Agile?
Agile is not just frameworks or practices, but basically agile is a mindset, a mindset which focuses on ideas and core values of delivering valuable software.
The core idea of the agile mindset is to be able to provide real value despite uncertainty early and frequently, so we need to be flexible and fast enough to keep on the right track of delivering value, and we need to be able to validate all our assumptions as we go through the project, these assumptions could be the requirements, the plan and technology
And the core idea here is that we need to be fast and flexible enough to take corrective actions quickly if things weren’t going as expected,
So where does Validation come from?
This validation comes from continuous feedback and improvement, feedback back from the customer, the team and from continuously updating our plan,
Validation should be built into your process.
And of course, the validation process should start early in the project and continue through the project timeline.
So that’s the agile mindset, what about the known frameworks and practices?
The agile frameworks, methods and practices are built to help teams apply the agile mindset and core concepts.
And as they are experimented and improved for more than 20 years, they are considered proven ways to apply the agile mindset in real projects
Scrum, Kanban and Extreme Programming (XP) are examples of the most popular agile frameworks.
For example, Scrum applies the iterations concept, to be able to take feedback and improve early and frequently.
Extreme Programming focuses on close communication between the customer and the developers, to make sure they have a common understanding of the requirements and also to make sure that validation is done effectively and smoothly.
Agile is also providing Agile Planning techniques, to be flexible in adapting your plan for new changes and feedback. That is the Adaptive Planning concept.
As agile practitioners, we can choose whatever suitable agile method to work with as long as we are applying its mindset.
we choose them according to the company, project and team structure and skills.
So Is there a real difference between having the agile mindset or only following the practices?
Let me tell you a story here of a team I have coached.
In the beginning, only the team leader had some agile knowledge, and he was forcing the rest of the team to do its practices.
As you may have expected, the team was doing the practices in the wrong way
or they resisting doing them at all
Yet the most challenging concern for me was that they had a very common misconception.
They thought that they needed to build every feature right from the beginning.
and this made them frustrated from the changes made by business stakeholders.
As a result, things got tensioned this even made some problems between team members,…. and between team members and business stakeholders.
As I educated the team about its mindset they began to be curious to know feedback about their produced work and focus on the delivered value, this new mindset imposed a new culture of collaboration and focusing on value rather than frustration and tension.
I also educated them about its practices and related each practice to its value behind.
So they began to stick to the practices instead of resisting them. As they understood the value behind each practice.
And that’s the difference, that’s why we focus on its mindset because it is the core of agility,
practices may vary but the attitude of everyday work in the most important.
You can read Why using Agile to deliver successful projects?
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