Instead, We Need to Think of Agile as a Mindset, Rather Than a Methodology.
It’s not a specific group of tools and practices, but instead an attitude that shapes the way a work is approached. The ‘magic’ of Agile is that it develops a way of thinking; it teaches people how to adapt to a dynamically changing environment, whilst also quickly delivering the highest business value. This is far more beneficial than simply providing people with a rigid toolbox of solutions, as any problem will be tackled more efficiently.
Doing Agile doesn’t always equal being Agile.
By solely applying Agile practices — such as Iterations, User Stories, Standups and Artifacts — you can’t get the best results. Getting an Agile mindset requires a shift in behaviours, attitudes, habits…
Cargo cults were movements first observed in late 19th/early 20th century in Melanesia. Some Melanesians believed that ritualistically building things like airplane runways would lead to the appearance of material wealth (such as Western goods — ‘Cargo’), via airplanes.
According to our experience, a lot of companies replicate this idea of a cargo cult whilst trying to be Agile; in software development, for example, many teams just adopt several aspects of Scrum Stand-Up Meetings and bi-weekly Planning Sessions — but don’t actually adopt the Agile way of thinking. They follow some of the practices, without being able to actually say what purpose is served by those practices.
Before Agile, the Waterfall Model was used to manage the majority of software development projects. This model, however, had several drawbacks:
In the Waterfall Method, progress flows downwards, like the namesake suggests. Projects go through sequential stages: Conception > Initiation > Analysis > Design > Construction > Testing > Production > Maintenance.
Because of this, the end product can differ greatly from the initial expectation and design:
In response to these issues, the Agile Manifesto was introduced in 2001. In Agile, the scope of work is flexible, rather than fixed, and the projects are divided into several chunks with frequent reviews and feedback. This allows several benefits:
Essentially they’re a set of Methodologies, principles and values applied to an empowered and self-directed team. Through these factors, they are able to provide quality business value, quickly and iteratively.
Contrary to the Waterfall Model, the Agile method is built upon the following Manifesto:
12 principles are drawn from this manifesto. A huge strength of Agile methods are that they balance flexibility with stability, whilst retaining high quality production.
As we can see from this diagram, Agile Development is actually an umbrella term that encompasses several variations. Scrum is one of these, along with XP, Crystal, FDD, DSDM, etc. It’s useful to think of these as different variations of Agile Development.
Scrum is one of the most popular ways that Agile is integrated into a team; so much so, that it many people think they are the same thing. It’s incredibly important to analyze your business value stream, and to pinpoint the specifics of the product/business goals before choosing a Development Methodology to follow. If you are unsure or have doubts, feel free to contact us and we’ll help you to choose the best option for your specific needs.
Scrums are a vital part of rugby, and a way play is regularly restarted via teamwork and cooperation. It’ll be useful to visualize this when reading ahead:
The easiest way to identify Scrum, is how it composes a team. There are three key roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Development Team.
All three roles combine their responsibilities to create a functionally appropriate, on-time, and competent product. A good Scrum team contains an array of skills, and members cross-train each other so that no person bottlenecks progress. They are usually tight-knit, work in the same space, and are composed of 5-7 members. The best Scrum teams approach projects with a ‘we’ basis, and helping each other is a key part of work.
This process is efficient at giving a customer constant updates. They are completely aware of how their project is progressing, and receive working Product Increments at the end of each Sprint. It’s now quite obvious why the word ‘Scrum’ was used as a metaphor; the Regular Meetings are the Scrums themselves, the Sprints are the play in between, the referee lays out the requirements for the match, etc...
Overall, the final outcome is predictable, and they ultimately receive the working product they asked for from the start.
Besides recruiting talented software developers, and setting up remote development teams, we also provide a thorough Agile Consulting service. We can help you:
Our Agile Consultant will work closely with your project, assisting with many things such as consulting, auditing existing teams, or acting as the Scrum Master. If you wish to find out more, please check out this detailed guide to our Agile services, or ask us any questions you have via the form below.
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