Five Reminders to Balancing the Function and Philosophy for Better Development

Are you an Agile lover or hater?

Well, an article from the “Agile Zone” on the site DZ Zone cited research they conducted earlier this year, gathering opinions from 774 developers*. Even taking into consideration various types of Agile, like Scrum, Kanban and Test-Driven Development, 83.8% of developers were positive or very positive about the Agile approach.

If you’re more of a lover, the question becomes, how can you make Agile sustainable for your team and organization?

We believe that it comes down to balancing the development of the culture and philosophy of Agile with the function and formality of the process.

“…it comes down to balancing the culture and philosophy of Agile with the function and formality of the process.”

In this article, we’re sharing five hard-won reminders to help your Agile team make the benefits last from one project to the next.

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First, let’s talk a moment about the philosophy side of Agile.

Creating a collaborative spirit requires a shift in culture and a dedication by leadership – within the organization, the department and the development teams.

Organizations looking to transition towards agile can achieve this by collaborating with the workforce and leading them to the path of self-discovery. Realizing the importance and impact of active collaboration and emphasizing on how it would make the lives of the workforce better is a stepping-stone towards getting the buy in to imbibe a spirit to shift towards a smarter working mechanism.  For one of our recent clients, we achieved this by conducting a Value Stream Mapping activity to uncover their current state and partner with the team to realize the delays that they faced were due to a lack of collaboration.

Once the team is bought into the philosophy behind agile, effective change management techniques and coaching can be leveraged to reiterate the importance of accepting the change in thought process.

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Second, let’s focus on the functional side of the Agile approach.

It’s important to expect that no path to a sustainable Agile process will be straight. That’s the beauty of it – customizable – as well as a significant challenge for many organizations.

It is really tempting to read articles online and rush towards implementing the textbook definition of agile. However, it is vital for organizations to assess their current working mechanism before they make any hasty choices. Each organization is different and has its own structure and culture. It is important to carefully analyze the current state of working to be able to find the right flavor of agile that suits the taste of the organization.

In summary, we have seen how our client experiences boil down to five reminders to help make Agile stick for the long-term.

  1. Don’t settle on your first impression.
  2. Keep an open dialogue. Discuss perspectives and don’t assume.
  3. One size or type of Agile does not fit all
  4. Techniques, like Value Stream Mapping, can help uncover unique needs.
  5. Be sure your approach is tailored to your people and existing culture.

“Whatever Agile method you choose, it must address shifting customer demand and be balanced with leadership’s need to iteratively control the outcome.”

While Agile offers a very realistic approach to development, it does rely heavily on customer collaboration and rich prioritization. Whatever Agile method you choose, be sure it addresses your needs from within the context of shifting customer demand and is balanced with leadership’s need to iteratively control the outcome.

In the end, you can experience a more efficient workflow and outcomes that is created by a team who is well acquainted with why they do what they do.

If you’re looking to reinforce, or establish, Agile as a sustainable development culture and process in your organization, we can help.  We would like to explore your Agile experiences and how our clients have been succeeding for the long haul.

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