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Sep 29

Agile thoughts from the mind

BrainLightBulb-300x300At this moment I am working on a presentation for one of our departments about Agile and Scrum. When I started working on this presentation I was thinking how to inspire the people about Agile. I know the obvious theory and values from the books and trainings, but what are the interesting things for the average employee in a company.

Because of these thoughts I started to write this blog post. I won’t be a regular theoratical post with all facts, but it is a post written from my experience and opinion. I would therefore love to hear some feedback from you guys!

By the way, the list below is just at random order 😉

Agile is a culture

The first and maybe most important thing is that I believe Agile is a mindset, a culture within a whole company. You cannot just follow the rules of Agile, you need to support the mindset. It’s also important that the whole company is Agile; meaning that management is supportive instead of controlling, business is looking at product increments instead of complete projects and the complete value stream from business to operations is optimized.

Reviews early and often

Reviews are important in finding errors, wrong assumptions or improvements. Reviews are available on different levels; you can have a peer review between two developers or the sprint review for the stakeholders. The important goal of reviews that you can validate what you have build and, when it’s found early, you can make improvements at low costs. So why wait for the sprint review to show the complete sprint to the stakeholders when you can validate the user story directly with, for example, the product owner.

Trust

Trust is key in Agile product development! No trust will limit people in their work, because the focus will be on not making mistakes and stay in the comfort zone. The thing about mistakes is that without making them, no learning is possible. It’s not bad to make a mistake, it’s bad to hide your mistakes and do nothing with it! Another thing is that when people are focussed on not making mistakes, this will block their creativity. The last thing I allready mentioned in a way is: find errors a soon a possible! Early errors are cheap errors! If you find an error at the end of a release, it will cost you a lot to only figure out where this error came from. Not even mentioning the costs to fix the error and releasing a special hotfix.

Rewarding result

What I see in practice is that when people get rewarded on their role or as a person, thats where the focus is! Agile is about working together in a multidisciplinary team, focus on result and delivering value for the customer. If you start rewarding teams and their result, people stop to focus on getting their own task done.

Incorporate people

Again, Agile is about working together in a multidisciplinary team! This also means to incorporate people who you don’t think of right away (legal, compliance, communication, etc). It’s better to involve them from the start, then to inform them when the product is fiinished. Think about yourself; will you be more open minded if your opinion is asked during the process or when you are informed after the product is finished?

Invest in improvements

This might be an open door, but I see it so often that a quick fix is done so the team can go back to working on the project. If you do this, the problem will hunt you all the way through the project. If you invest some time to really solve the problem, this will benefit you all the way throughout the project! You can make the improvement visible by adding a user story on the backlog with the improvement and also explain the improvement in the sprint reviews.

 

Well this is it for now; looks to me that this can be a “blogpost in progress” so please provide me with feedback and additions to this post. Hope you liked reading it and that it will help you a bit with being Agile in you organization.

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