Agile practices (Scrum, Kanban or both) have widely proved their value to individual projects and even to organizations as a whole. Whether it’s a benefit or an inconvenience, deploying Agile practices requires a team’s complete involvement to achieve this sustainable self-management technique. For those of you who haven’t implemented Agile practices yet, we gathered a few important aspects to take into account and avoid disappointment.
True or false: Agile practices are like project management.
False. Agility goes beyond the project. It’s a state of mind that must be embodied by all teams.
Thinking of agile practices as equivalent to classic project management leads to continual questioning of new roles: Product Owner with decision-making power; Scrum Master as a sheepdog protecting the team against disruptive actions without high-level decision-making power over team members; the other team members ready to fully commit.
Implementing agile practices is first a matter of accepting a new culture of high-level involvement, self-management, and results.
I know someone who ran a marathon because he changed his stride, but becoming agile is like learning to walk all over again.
True or false: I have the resources to implement this transformation on my own.
False. Trusting an internal or external Agile coach is the best way to deploy Agile practices efficiently and avoid making mistakes.
Since there are not many rules related to Agile practices (which makes it easy to apply them), it could be tempting to lead the transformation process yourself. A true Agile transformation approach that impacts the entire culture is led by an Agile coach who assists the team and its managers (who typically make direct decisions) throughout their transformation.
Deploying Agile practices is an ongoing, transitional process, so I strongly recommend you reach out for support to eliminate obstacles to change as fast as possible.
After all, ski instructors say it’s easier to teach someone how to ski than to change bad habits.
True or false: The deployment of Agile practices must be limited to only the concerned team.
False. One group never manages a project. It’s a vertical followed by all of the involved teams. Design, QA, marketing: each area of expertise should have a representative and participate right before the launch of the project. As a result, Agile practices must involve more than one team.
Relying on industry approaches, including Lean, Agile practices occupy the flow of information related to software development and IT at a wider level. Deploying these practices only at the IT team level will create difficulties with people outside of the team.
If Agile practices are limited to just one team, this should only continue for a trial period. Then, the entire company should adopt the new culture where, unlike a traditional business model, employees are self-managed.
True or false: It’s not a big deal if we don’t hold regular improvement meetings.
False. Holding consistent meetings prevents unsolved questions. Goals also stay visible all along the way, and team members can adapt their actions to become more efficient.
The most known Agile practice meetings are:
- Poker Planning (collective assessment of sprint operations)
- Demo (presenting work generated in the sprint)
- Daily stand-up meeting (15 minutes max to present the progress made, tasks in production, and obstacles to overcome)
Team requirements are not the same at the beginning of the project as compared to during the project, or even during various stages of the product creation cycle. It’s important to remember to regularly organize a continuous improvement meeting, ideally every one or two sprints. These meetings are an inherent part of a successful Agile culture. What should we keep doing? What should we stop doing? How can we improve the team’s organization/production?
These are a few questions the team should ask itself based on current and new information and feedback. In this particular meeting, the team shows its capacity to self-manage its improvement.
The team will go from “good” to “great” only if it continuously improves.
True or false: Agility changes everything, all the time.
False. It’s a matter of discipline first.
Agile practices have been designed to ensure the permanent production of business value. Many think of agility as the ability to modify task priorities, but agility is not a shell used to protect a lack of visibility and poor organization.
Agility is about discipline by everyone involved.
These practices reduce lead time in the Study / Design / Development tunnel, but you should remain focused on the objectives to produce the expected values. You must give the team the means to “resist” outside disturbances that limit the production of new values.
The team must have the framework to rotate. If it rotates several times in a row, it can end up with a headache and remain at the initial stage.
By default and relying on its experience of more than 25-years, Pentalog deploys its client projects in an Agile framework for maximum success. And, Pentalog’s Agile coaches support clients in their migration process and adopting these practices.
Do you want to deploy Agile practices, but don’t know where to start? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
Note: This article was originally published in September 2015, but was revised due to new information on the subject.