Has your organization adopted the culture of “Being agile” or “Doing agile”?

Some enterprises find that in spite of their efforts, agile practices fail to deliver results within their organization. This is often a symptom of “Doing Agile” without first “Being Agile”.

Confused? Let me elaborate…

Doing Agile

Often teams start implementing agile practices without proper knowledge of agile principles. The focus is on how to implement, without understanding properly what those practices are.

Being Agile

Here, the first step is to understand what the different agile practices are. Once a clear understanding is established, it becomes much easier to decide how effectively we can map those practices into specific projects effectively.

So the key difference is that in “Being Agile”, the What is followed by the How, whereas in “Doing Agile”, the How is followed by the What.

The best practice would be to first understand what agile means, and then to map agile practices to processes within the development.

If an individual or a particular team in an organization alone follow agile practices, it is not of much help, and in fact, could result in rifts within the organization and teams.

Gearing up the organization as a whole to adopt agile practices is necessary to ensure success.

How do you gear up your organization to follow agile practices?

  • Understand Agile: First, Individuals need to read and understand the concepts of agile practices completely.
  • Implement Agile: Start visualizing tasks, implement them iteratively, start demonstrating finished tasks and get feedback. Retrospect at the end of tasks in terms of your experiences during implementation.
    When we complete some work on a project, it is important to retrospect on things you would have not done the same way, things to avoid doing from the next time, new practices to start following for the next task, aspects that can continue to be followed, and so on. This retrospection really helps you to improve your performance and the quality of your delivery.
  • Spread the knowledge and encourage: Start talking to others on what you have learned, how you implemented your learnings, and how it benefited you in improving the quality of your work. Start with one person, and once that person has learned the process, ask him/her to teach two more, and let that two mentor another four, and so on.

I do realize that this process is time-consuming, but with a sustained effort, you will certainly see the whole organization move towards agile practices.