You are not really "Agile" while you don't do these 9 things

Hi folks,

This article comes from another one, with the same title. I will not link it, because I'm going to make a derivate and the most important content here is not the origin, but the new thinking... the ideas.

The title caught my attention, then I said:

- "yes! I will read it! I want to check how much Agile I am"

Some minutes later I was disappointed:

More or less the article explained these 9 elements:
  1. technical practices
  2. set-up continuous integration
  3. automatic environments 
  4. put the customer first ("Agile teams are servants of the customer")
  5. your teams are real teams
  6. limit your "work in progress"
  7. the business goals are clear
  8. you evaluate teams, not individuals
  9. you have a risk-friendly culture  
On my opinion, this looks like a "definition of Agility" from an engineer perspective.  It is not wrong, I think the problem is that it is not complete and as always... remains in the surface. So I will provide some complementary ideas.

Let's challenge the ideas ;)

Think for a moment: If the Humanity was not "Agile" before 2001, then where is the innovation?

Which was the new solution that this Agile movement brings?

Just go faster?

Just do less documentation?

That's all?

If then, why it works so good, and why the classical methods failed hard?

Team-working, prioritization leadership, process optimization and even automation already existed before.

Then the questions today to think are:
  • Which is the innovation that Agile brought to the Software World?
  • Why Agile was Born? 
  • Which was the Change? 

If we talk about an "Agile Team", usually people will think something like this:
  • some people in charge of implementation, (dev team) 
  • 1 person in charge of design (product owner) 
  • 1 person in charge of "team velocity" (scrum master) 

... then there is not so much difference with the methodology applied to Pyramids construction 7.000 years ago.

But in the middle we lived many change eras:

  • roman empire, 
  • middle ages, 
  • feudalism, 
  • capitalism, 
  • industrial revolution, 
  • scientific management... 
  • and now we coexist with "millenials" generation.

Where is the difference?

Which is the new Thing?

- "...but you must put the customer first!"

Really? That's older than Colosseum.

Ok, if you pay attention, you can see that one of the most important differences on each "change era" was: Leadership.

On each era the "Leadership" became a little bit more "soft", "light" or "open". Or "less vertical".

But, why "Leadership" is so critical on each innovation era?

The answer is quite obvious: The Leadership is the social-class that injects culture. They are "Culture Ambassadors". You cannot change or stablish nothing if Leadership won't support it.

So then, let's take a look into some of the innovation elements that this new "Agile Era" represents:

Self-organized Teams

More or less this is related to the point 8 of the original article.

Also to have "Self-organized Teams" (that still no-one understands exactly what it is) you need "self-organized team-players".

And of course, to have self-organized teams, you need a compatible leadership.

Facilitator Leadership 

A "facilitator" enables the Team to Flow on performing, and assist it on every impediment that can hold it back from reaching goals.

Even the facilitator is frequently consider "part of the team", what I can strongly recommend.

Many times, the facilitator is in charge of providing the context the team needs to be fluent. To create the space: culture, rules, tools, trainings, coaching, mentoring and whatever is needed to have a healthy echosystem.

The other innovative element from this era is:

Self-learning Teams

In Scrum, and in Agile Manifesto, this is represented by the Retrospective meeting. I think there is a good point where you can "evaluate" a team maturity.

An entire Team is like a Big Brain. Which will be glad and joy to learn something new. Will be strongly motivated to take down challenges, and will cultivate its self-esteem on the way.

Learn is Change. Learn is Evolution. Learn is Adapt. Learn is Grow. Learn is Performance...

In the past eras, someone was already prepared for a position, or not. You needed a lot of studies, certifications, courses and permits to work.

In this new era, one of the most important skills is: Adaptation.

There is a lot of more elements we can explore, but for this post I think this is enough. These are the main values I would check to evaluate "Agility". If not we fall to believe that it is a set of "Practices". (what is partially True, but not complete)

Of course you can keep reading more deeply, this topic and many others in my last Book: 

Make Scrum Great Again

Thanks for reading,

Happy Flow!

Daniel Ceillan

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