In this Agile Learning Series, we will explore Agile, Scrum, Kanban, XP, and DevOps. Later on, in another series, we will explore Lean Thinking and how Agile and Lean are deeply connected with Systems Thinking and also Scaling Agile or Applying Agile practices at the Enterprise level, discuss Business Agility, Enterprise Agility, Technical Agility, and Team Agility.
We will focus on Agile in this blog as a starting point for other topics.
What is Agile?
What problem are we trying to solve?
One of the common themes in agile adoption is to make an organization to "be agile" for enterprise agility, business agility, technical agility, and team agility. Also, moving away from traditional practices (even today sequential/waterfall approaches are utilized to develop complex products & services, and it is not only ineffective, but it also impacts the overall eco-system or end-to-end flow) to more iterative, incremental and adaptive value-delivery and continuous improvement models.
Comparison of waterfall/sequential model (which is popular and a default approach to software development) with agile practices reveals the critical differences for modern software and software-based solutions development needs a transformation. There are many benefits in transforming the traditional ways of working to agile ways of working, and they are, Visibility to progress, The flow itself manages risk, Adaptability to change and faster feedback cycles and prior achievement of business value.
History of Agile
Agile was considered to be part of our many decades of software development, especially in the 1970s, 1980s there was the shift in the mindset to focus on adaptive and other faster development cycles of development as the software development and processes evolved.
The Agile Manifesto
The Manifesto for Agile Software Development (2001) started with an intention to find better ways of developing software. There were few agile practices at that time of Agile Manifesto creation like Scrum, XP, and Lean was popular in the Manufacturing industry. The idea of Agile software development is to shift the focus to values and principles instead of processes and make a mindset level approach for applying adaptive practices (that can change and changed by the people who develop software, who seems to know more about the knowledge work they are doing) and enable faster development and learning cycles.
Agile Practices that exists before the agile manifesto and some new practices (based on agile manifesto) become famous as the software industry required a shift in the mindset and the way we develop, deliver and maintain software and software-based solutions. Software community started developing the necessary tools and processes which support the agile practices and faster feedback cycles.
Adopting Agile Practices
Adopting agile practices can be easy or difficult based on the organization's mindset.
We see the following patterns (scope) in the organization's mindset.
Each organization is different, and their current state of value-delivery might get influenced to adopt agile practices and lean thinking (embrace a lean-agile mindset), based on their organization's support they may apply at different scope.
It is up to the organization to choose how they would like to transform and achieve their goals through a much faster and learning path which can create a broad and deep impact for their organization and society.
The Organization Leaders are the foundation for modern organizations, and they are responsible for transforming the organization into a lean-agile organization.
Note: We will see Lean in the upcoming blog.
The Purpose of Agile Practices
The purpose of Agile practices is to reap benefits from different thinking & adaptive approaches that we have for addressing complex-adaptive problems and also encourage the entire organization to become a learning organization. Some of the basic approaches are timebox, flow, engineering practices, project-management transformation and mindset shift, transformation mindset, continuous improvement culture via value-stream approach.
The main difference between traditional and agile mindset is that an agile approach is mindset shift on values & principles, and practices can be customized, improved or created for the organizational context. The existing agile approaches form as a starting point and foundations to explore a gradual and lean transformation, agile mindset based ways-of-working.
Though the agile practices are simple, easy to understand and most of the practices can be started immediately in the organization context, there are considerable benefits in becoming a learning organization by continuous & relentless improvement through coaching. The coaching generally applies to the entire transformation scope, and it is up to the organization to choose the scope of the transformation. There are multi-discipline, cross-functional, agility focus, cultural, mindset level changes required to become successful in transformation. For a good start, the organization does consult - do an assessment, and they start with training, coaching, and transformation. We will see Temenos+Agility approach called as Language, Habits, and Mindset (LHM model and framework) to encourage faster and holistic transformation by providing training, coaching, learning structure. Many organization develops their lean-agile ways-of-working, and they might create a framework for making a broad and deep impact and cover the entire transformation scope.
Agile Transformation is about the mindset of the people, organization structure and value and customer & employees focus. So, every agile transformation emphasizes agile Teams for the organization where the people can work together and deliver value continuously with a required set of processes/policies and maximum focus on customer and employee satisfaction.
Agile Teams helps to promote a healthy organization culture through autonomy, mastery, purpose, unity, and alignment in their day-to-day work.
See the Next Set of Blogs in this Series
Temenos Effect Gathering 2018- Bengaluru, India(Dec 29, 2018)
An event dedicated to the idea of personal mastery, for nurturing your beautiful self, for change agents and leaders to become their true selves.
For more details, visit our website: https://www.visiontemenos.com/events