Agile Or The Agility


Sometime back I posted a poll on my blog to vote for agile and other development methodologies.Interestingly there were 33 percent vote against the favor of “Agile”. This made me curious to know the reason as why few people feel that a relatively new development methodology is being  termed like that.Agile is considered to be the most “in” thing in the software industry and everyone wants to do a project in agile .Since 2001 when it’s manifesto and principles were released, this methodology has attracted the whole lot of people towards it .You will find people doing agile in most of the organizations today.You will find agile engineer,agile testers,agile project managers and many other agile titles in the industry today. While there have been many success stories around agile ,there have been challenges also. The reasons for these challenges, what I have understood is that people are more interested in agile processes,tools and titles to show on their resumes not on the actual agility.The agility in mindset of dealing with changes,agility in dealing with team or creating self organizing team. In this blog I would like to highlight some of the points related to agile development and how it is being misrepresented in terms of agility.

Today many agile gurus and advocates are now talking about “Agile” being overrated . The reason for this is not that there is some flaw in the process but how the agile is being perceived by the people.It is sometime just being treated as a set of rituals being performed during the project life cycle and when the project fails agile is made an easy scape goat.

So the real question is do you want to do your project in Agile or with Agility ?

The whole idea of agile movement was to remove the earlier rigid approach of software development and make it more people focused, more adaptive to change which add more value to customer’s current business need.Today agile has become victim of the same rigidity it promised to remove.People have become too focused to follow the process of agile development. People have become too focused to perform the rituals without understanding how to benefit from them.The conventional project management mindset is not in line with agile adaptive leadership.People do not want to loose control over teams, they don’t believe in self organizing teams that have autonomy , mastery and purpose.

So what agility we were looking for ?

I can not define it in a better way than Mr. PragDave

  • You aren’t an agile programmer—you’re a programmer who programs with agility.
  • You don’t work on an agile team—your team exhibits agility.
  • You don’t use agile tools—you use tools that enhance your agility.

The focus should not be on doing agile but being agile. Being agile requires fundamental change in how we think about change,how we think about our team .Does our thought still revolve around the user agreements or the value we are going to create for our clients.Do we still try to micro manage our team or give them independence to be self organizing to decide what’s best for the product.Can we remove useless processes from the product life cycle that don’t add value and be lean in our operations.

Ok, so how to bring agility in what we do ?

  • Build  team with right people who are motivated for their work.
  • Create a culture to embrace change.
  • Only thing that is permanent is change,so your plan and design should be open to changes.
  • Don’t make agile an excuse for good engineering design.
  • Try to develop things in simple and small steps that add to the grand picture.

This is not a exhaustive list but we can take a clue and build our understanding on it. The main purpose of this article was to bring focus to agility.

There are very interesting articles that give a renewed perspective on agile development and how we should deal with it. some of my personal favorite writings are

I hope this and other articles referenced here will spur or inspire some of you to read more on agility and further help the agile movement to bring success to your projects and team.Let me know what you think about agility…

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