Agile starts where processes end

May 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Best fit Agile, Blogroll, Scrum and agile | Leave a comment

Processes have been there, and will continue to be there. They were required when we did waterfall; they were there when we did incremental development; they are here when we do agile development, and they will be there when some new way of building software will emerge in future. They are a given.

But what agile brings to the table is something unique, and to really benefit from it we need to grasp this uniqueness. But before we do that, we need to understand the processes better.

Processes love to be left alone. In a way it is good, because it releases our attention to focus on things that matter most. But from time to time, our needs change and our context also changes. If the processes can’t keep up with these changes, they start becoming stale and gradually become outdated. They become more of a pain than pleasure.

There is another challenge to keeping the processes in tune with the changing needs. There are vested interests which make processes into a religion. And like all religions, the middlemen make things more complex and rigid than they need to be.

One of the possible solutions is for the agile teams to take charge and decide what works for them. The role of an agile coach would then be to empower the teams improve their processes using agile principles, rather than defining and enforcing the processes for them.

Agile manifesto, which was primarily aimed at software development, can be suitably modified as below to guide the teams for taking responsibility for improving their own processes. The possible agile manifesto for agile teams could be,

“We as an agile team are uncovering better ways of executing our work, by doing it and helping others do it. We value,
• Human collaboration over impersonal processes
• Usable practices over borrowed processes
• Empirical approach over defined processes
• Responding to reality over sticking to a plan”

To summarize, processes need help from us humans to stay alive to the reality. And we need help from Agile to do so.


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