Embracing The Practically Perfect Agile Process

April 13, 2010 CollabNet VersionOne

Agile project management begins with a simple framework. From there, things can get sticky pretty fast. The path becomes filled with decisions about the software development process and whether we will use agile project management software. If we do choose to use software to assist us, are we looking for XP tools? Scrum tools? How do we make the decisions that will best impact the organization?

Unfortunately, many agile enthusiasts contend that there is only one way or set of tools to use to be perfect in every way. Let the record state that no single method or tool will be the golden stake to bridge the organization from traditional project management methodologies to a more robust agile solution.

Some may be quick to point out that as a Certified Scrum Trainer, I would be remiss in my duties if I did not soundly declare Scrum the answer to all organizational agile adoption. To the contrary, I am here to declare that the perfect solution is not based on which method came first, or even what meetings or artifacts are included in each. The pathway to freedom was laid in Snowbird, UT when some very influential people from every agile fold cried out that we needed to focus on individuals and interactions over processes and tools. In other words, there are 3 steps that should be followed within any agile adoption to be successful:

1) Realistic expectations should be set throughout the group and or organization.
2) Individuals (not resources) need to communicate more openly and learn to interact as teams. This is the first step to establishing a firm foundation.
3) When the time is right, select the process and tool that is best equipped to help your organization move toward a great agile rollout.

The biggest downfall I see in agile adoption is when organizations deep dive into what they need to do without knowing the ramifications of what they are actually getting themselves into. As the agile community continues to grow and evolve, the process and adoption of the process will also evolve. What may be best for the organization today may become something different as we approach an enterprise level adoption of any process.

The words professed in Scrum ring true: “It’s all about common sense.” We need to get back to these roots, to reflect and take advantage of our opportunities to inspect and adapt. We need to embrace what is real, focus on the end goal, and deliver software that exceeds our customers’ every expectation. Acting responsibly is the only way we can be practically perfect in every way.

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