Moving to Agile: Doing it Right

It takes a considerable amount of bravery to be in the process of moving an organization from waterfall to agile and to ask questions at most agile meetups and conferences. Nowhere in the universe are you more likely to be told that everything you do, everything you think, everything you are is simply wrong. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Somewhere, someone must have printed a checklist entitled “Think You’re Doing Scrum?” that looks like:

  • Test-driven Design?
  • Pair coding?
  • T&M contracts only (no fixed bid)?
  • No managers?
  • No PMs?
  • The entire team talks to the client regularly?

And if you don’t have all of those checked off, you’re absolutely not “doing Agile.” This really hurts the conversation; it makes the more tentative of us not want to speak up and it derails the discussion amongst those with a more mature viewpoint of how change works in an organization.

I suspect that most of the folks thinking that way have failed to really absorb some of the core concepts involved in doing almost any flavor of agile delivery—not the least of which being the ability to adapt to your delivery needs.

I invite all of you to remember a basic tenet of Scrum, that of constantly seeking to improve one or two things from your delivery. Sure, it sounds wonderful to scrap everything and start over, but that’s not iterative; changing inexorably toward agile…that’s what it’s all about.