On Being Agile…

It’s been a while since I’ve written here… a lot has been happening. This won’t be an in-depth post, but more a quick brain dump… no, knowledge share if you will.

I’ve recently started a new project for my current client and when I catch up with people I know the common question gets asked, “So, how’s the new project?” I start off with the usual stiff like it’s great to be learning something new again, etc. but then I find myself describing it as ‘semi-Agile’. The reason for this is that we’re using sprints, but we’re not using Scrum. We’re using a board, but we’re not using Kanban. So without thinking too deeply about it I tell people that we’re a little bit Agile, but not full Agile. Another reason being that this client is only just starting to see some Agile projects kicking off, otherwise the common process is Waterfall.

It struck me the other day… I’m telling people this because we’re not ‘following’ a known Agile framework/process. It then also struck me – like a slap from Batman – that this was completely stupid!

What’s happening in our project is us being agile, not doing Agile. Each of us have differing levels of experience with Agile, and we’re taking bits that may work for us and trying them. There is a sense of freedom in all of this. We don’t ‘have’ to answer 3 questions in our stand-up. We don’t ‘have’ to apply a strict story point process to estimation. We try something, and if it works we try it again next time. If it doesn’t work, we drop it.

Looking back and trying to pinpoint the cause of this freedom… I can neither confirm or deny, but I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with us saying right from the beginning that we would try Agile, but that we won’t be restricting ourselves to any set framework/process. Upon hearing this I can imagine that many people freaking out and wondering how that could possibly ever work. Well, it does! I mean it won’t work if you want to do a certain type of Agile, but it will work if you want to be agile.

I’m not usually one for checking boxes, but…

  • Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools – Check!
  • Working Software over comprehensive documentation – Check!
  • Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation – Check!
  • Responding to Change over following a plan – Check!

Yep, so far we’re nailing it!

So instead of trying to drag your bulldog over hurdles in the hope it’s Agile… just let it be a bulldog!

Note – Yes, the bulldog is a poor example as they are far from agile… but god dammit they’re cute!


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