Agile is more than Windowdressing

Agile is more than Windowdressing

Non-functional requirements

In the dynamic world of business and technology development, the term “Agile” is often heard. But what does it actually mean? Is it just a buzzword or is there more to it? Let’s dive into the essence of Agile and why it is more than just outward appearances.

For Dirk, avid supporter and early adopter of Agile and employee of M2Q, “Agile” is not just a method, but rather a belief that it is the most effective and efficient way to deliver high-quality software.

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Agility rather than Agile-ness

Being Agile for the sake of being Agile is not an end in itself. It’s all about the ability to be agile, to adapt quickly to change, both in terms of operations and technology. This means focusing on developing what is asked for, without relying on hypotheses, and incorporating feedback to enable continuous improvement. And that’s why Agile is so crucial.

Agile – More than a manifesto

Everyone knows the Agile Manifesto, but let’s put it into perspective with its four core values:

  • Individual and team interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software above extensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiations.
  • Responding to change over following a set plan.

These values guide Agile development, emphasizing human interaction and flexibility.

Agile in practice

So why the title “Agile – Why this is more than Window Dressing”? The answer is simple: because many organizations and teams struggle to achieve true agility, despite using Agile methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, or hybrid forms.

Why do companies stumble with Agile?

The biggest stumbling block seems to be in the approach itself. Too often, Agile practices and techniques are implemented without embracing the true Agile philosophy. Some common misconceptions include:

  • Separate testing teams that test after the fact rather than during implementation.
  • Repetition of the same problems in retrospectives without solving them.
  • Overloading sprints with more work than the team can handle.
  • Decisions made for the team rather than by the team.

What should we do?

As an experienced Agile practitioner, I strongly believe in some core principles for successful Agile implementations:

  • Focus on behaviors and beliefs: It’s all about cultivating the right mindset and collaborative habits within teams.
  • No dogmatic approach: Flexibility is essential. Adapt methodologies based on what works for your team and project.
  • Persevere and learn: Change takes time. Stick to the Agile principles even if it doesn’t seem to work at first.
  • Involve all stakeholders: Agile is not an IT initiative alone. Involve all stakeholders, including the business, for optimal results.

Concluding thoughts

In essence, Agile is not just about following a set of rules, but embracing a mindset and culture of collaboration, flexibility and continuous improvement. Let’s strive for true agility and not just the appearance of it.

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